Crowley Fights to Restore Homeland Security Funding for New York, Urban Areas

Jun 2, 2011 Issues:

Washington, D.C. — During debate on the FY2012 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) co-led an amendment to restore funding to critical homeland security programs that provide states with the needed resources to protect our nation. The Republican-authored FY2012 bill, which was debated yesterday, includes massive cuts to grants that states use to implement and maintain anti-terrorism initiatives, including purchasing equipment and training first responders. Included in the cuts is funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) – a program Crowley helped establish in the wake of 9/11. UASI provides resources to urban areas that are most susceptible to terrorist attacks, such as New York City. Crowley, along with Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Steve Israel (D-NY) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), offered an amendment to the FY2012 Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would restore funding to UASI and other critical homeland security programs.

Below are Congressman Crowley’s remarks as submitted for the record:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support the Lowey-Crowley-King-Israel-Roybal-Allard amendment to restore funding to critical Homeland Security programs. Passage of this amendment is vital to sustaining our efforts to keep every U.S. city, state and landmark vulnerable to a terrorist attack safe and secure.

“The Homeland Security bill, which was passed out of committee without a single Democratic vote, slashes support for many of our nation’s most important safety and protection programs, including initiatives recommended by the 9/11 Commission. 

“In particular, I am deeply concerned about the Republicans’ cuts to the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). After the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001, I spearheaded an effort to create a new program, the High Threat Urban Area Account Program, mostly commonly referred to as UASI. 

“The establishment of this program was important because at the time, there was not a single Federal program designed to provide support to the areas in this country that are most at risk of a terror attack. The reality is that while terrorists may want to strike the entire United States, their efforts often target major cities like New York where they can inflict damage on the maximum number of people.   

“We have UASI for a reason – to make sure that the states that are most threatened by terrorism have the tools they need to prevent and deter attacks before they take place. In New York, grant monies are used to train and better equip first responders and provide them with communication systems to assure preparedness, in addition to improving the monitoring of key infrastructure that is more likely to be targeted, including bridges, subways, skyscrapers and tourist sites. Multiple attempts to attack New York underscore the severity of the threat faced by urban areas, and we cannot diminish our commitment to protecting the American people.

“In the days following 9/11, I stood here with Democrats and Republicans alike as we pledged to do everything in our power to make sure that an attack like the one on 9/11 never happens again.

“Yet, here we are today looking at cuts to the very programs intended to keep us safe. 

“The threat of terrorism remains very real, making it essential for cities that face the greatest risk to have the resources necessary to prevent attacks. I strongly urge the House to reverse these damaging cuts.” 

Congressman Crowley is the seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He serves as chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.