WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today co-sponsored and helped pass an amendment to the FY2012 Homeland Security Appropriations Act that restores eligibility for towns in the Fourth District to receive funding to fight terrorism. The amendment eliminates a provision in the bill that arbitrarily limits Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grants to the areas within the country deemed to be the top ten high-risk cities. 

Click here to watch Himes discuss the amendment.

“While we can all agree that shared sacrifice is required to bring our federal deficit under control, I cannot support cuts to a national security program proven to be not just effective, but also essential to our safety,” said Himes. “After local law enforcement officials from Fairfield County helped to capture Faisal Shahzad – the Times Square bomber – last year, it is unfathomable to think that their work would be deemed non-essential in the fight against terrorism.”

If passed in original form, the bill would have reduced the number of communities eligible for UASI grants by more than 50 cities – among them, the Bridgeport/Stamford Metropolitan Area which includes the majority of cities and towns my district.

This restriction is dangerous. The loss of UASI funding would completely derail a major inter-agency communications project in Fairfield County. In addition, much of the counterterrorism work underway in Fairfield County has been implemented in phases. A reduction in funds at this point will effectively waste the work that has already been completed. Additionally, our proximity to New York City not only increases the likelihood of a terrorist attack, but also increases the potential that someone living in our area will plan an attack with the intention of inflicting damage on New York City.

During consideration of the bill, Himes also voted in favor of a $337 million funding increase for the UASI program in 2012.  This amendment failed 266-154.