On Thursday, the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing to begin the discussion about the Boston bombings. Congressman Brian Higgins, a member of the committee and ranking member of the subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence, will participate. Witnesses will include the commissioner of the Boston Police Department.
Higgins recently spoke of the Boston attack and the thwarted plot to target the border between the U.S. and Canada in remarks on the House Floor. During his speech, Higgins, who represents Western New York's northern border adjacent to Southern Ontario, stressed the need to remain vigilant and give high-risk communities the tools to prepare and prevent such activities. His remarks are below:
"Mr. Speaker, The success of Boston law enforcement in responding to the Marathon bombing is due to the skill and coordination of their law enforcement community.
"Boston's law enforcement agencies also have the benefit of membership in the Urban Area Security Initiative, or UASI, program. This security program was created to develop capabilities to prevent and respond to attacks just like this one in our most vulnerable cities.
"Unfortunately, funding shortfalls in recent years have cut the number of cities included in this program from 64 to 32. The Buffalo-Niagara region that I represent was among the eliminated regions.
"Mr. Speaker, the eliminated cities are still vulnerable and, in fact, it was recently revealed that a Canadian terror plot may have targeted the border in Niagara Falls.
"The federal government made an investment in these communities and a sudden exclusion from this security program threatens to render that investment wasted. The increased security and response capabilities that have been developed must be preserved, and we have an obligation to restore eligibility to these excluded communities."