Congressman Brian Higgins, NY-26, spoke on the House Floor to bring attention to the serious consequences that sequestration would have on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Niagara County's largest employer. In his speech, Higgins noted that these budget cuts would force the Air Force to delay construction of a $6.1 million flight simulator and would require 2,300 Air Force civilians across New York state to be furloughed, resulting in more than $17 million in lost wages.
The text of Higgins' remarks is below:
"Sequestration will have serious consequences for the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, which is tremendously important to the economy of Western New York.
"If Congress does not repeal the sequester, the Air Force will delay the construction of a $6.1 million flight simulator at the base, a project that is crucial to securing the base's continued operation.
"There would also be an impact on jobs. Twenty-three hundred Air Force civilians in New York will be furloughed, causing $17.7 million in lost wages across the state.
"Mr. Speaker, sequestration was the ransom the Tea Party demanded when it held the American economy hostage over the debt limit. But with 750,000 American jobs at stake, this process will inflict real and permanent damage on the American economy.
"Congress created the sequester. Congress can and should repeal it.
"For the Niagara Falls Air Reserve base and for the American economy, I urge the House to do just that."
The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is strategically located three miles from the northern border and in the heart of the "Golden Horseshoe," which encompasses the area stretching from Western New York to Toronto and represents the third largest population area in North America.
According to a report, prepared by the Niagara County Department of Economic Development, the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station employs more than 2,600 individuals and has a total annual economic impact of more than $200 million. The report, released just last August, stresses, "making cuts at NFARS will jeopardize military readiness and homeland security as well as cause catastrophic economic impacts to Western New York."