WASHINGTON (WIVB) — The House of Representatives made a bipartisan agreement on a National Defense Authorization Act led by Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-26).

A bill that was co-led by Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), authorized funding for the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program. It authorizes $10 million annually for grants in 2023 and 2024 for projects that maintain maritime history, such Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park vessels.

Usually, the sale of obsolete vessels provided funding, but between 2018 and 2021 there were no resources available, leading to deterioration, as was seen with the near-sinking of the USS The Sullivans earlier this year downtown. Higgins secured $490,000 in the budget for preservation and repairs for the vessel. In 2022, $2 million in funding is available for grants.

“The visual of the USS The Sullivans submerged and the threat of losing all the history should be an urgent reminder to the nation of the need to preserve these stories treasures,” Rep. Higgins said. “This amendment would make resources available for communities like Buffalo to carry these artifacts and stories forward for future generations.”

Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.