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Collins says he’ll back federal budget

Posted 14 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Press release, Congressman Chris Collins

Congressman Chris Collins (R-Clarence) announced today that he will vote in support of the federal budget bill, which was introduced late last night, and will come before the House of Representatives later this week.

The $1.012 trillion spending deal will fund the government through the end of September.

“In addition to cutting spending for four years in a row, and resulting in total discretionary savings of $165 billion since 2010, the federal budget bill includes provisions that will have a direct, positive impact on New York’s 27th Congressional District,” Collins said. “This includes increasing funding for Customs and Border Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers and NASA, while providing no additional funding for ObamaCare.”

The budget bill increases Customs and Border Protection’s overall budget to $10.6 billion, which is a $220 million increase from FY2013 funding. This will allow for the largest operational CBP force in history.

“Increasing funding for Customs and Border Protection will help boost the economy of Western New York by ensuring we are moving people and products across the border faster,” said Congressman Collins. “This includes an increase of 2,000 additional CBP officers for our nation’s busiest ports of entry, which will go a long way toward easing congestion at both the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and Peace Bridge.”

Collins has been at the forefront of advocating for an increase in staffing at our nation’s northern borders. Last month, alongside Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), Collins wrote a letter to the Acting Commissioner of the CBP calling for additional staffing at local border crossings in order to address the wait times.

The budget bill also sets the Army Corps of Engineers funding at $5.5 billion, a $487 million increase from FY2013, and provides $1 billion for activities related to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. Funding for NASA is set at $17.6 billion, which is an increase of $120 million from FY2013 levels.

“Increasing funding for the Army Corps of Engineers is essential to maintaining our Lake Ontario harbors,” Collins said. “Additionally, the increase in funding for NASA means more opportunities for private sector companies, like Moog Inc., which support our nation’s space program and are located in Western New York.”

Funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs is set at $147.9 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding. Discretionary funding for VA programs is set at $63.2 billion, an increase of $2.3 billion above FY2013. This increase in funding is aimed in part at eliminating the VA’s backlog of claims by 2015.

The budget bill does not provide any additional funding for ObamaCare.

“The bill slashes ObamaCare’s $1 billion slush fund and freezes funding for the President’s healthcare program at the post-sequester level. This will prevent any unnecessary spending on a flawed law and, given the mismanaged launch of ObamaCare and lack of transparency surrounding enrollment numbers, is only appropriate,” Collins said.