Fairfield County towns will be eligible for funding to fight terrorism thanks to a federal amendment, says U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat whose district covers much of southern Fairfield County.
The Homeland Security Appropriations Act eliminates a provision in the bill that limits the Urban Areas Security Initiative, which provides funding for planning, organization, equipment and training in high-threat, high-density urban areas.
The program issues grants to areas in the country deemed to be Top 10, high-risk cities. Fairfield County, with its close proximity to New York City, falls into that category.
"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."
In its original form, the bill would have reduced the number of communities eligible for these grants by more than 50 cities, including towns within the Bridgeport/Stamford metropolitan area. Himes said the restriction is dangerous, and the loss of funding would "completely derail a major inter-agency communications project" in Fairfield County.
During consideration of the bill, Himes also voted in favor of a $337 million funding increase for the Urban Areas Security Initiative program in 2012. This amendment failed 266-154.
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