GOP Rep Against Restoring Tsunami Funding, Warns Against ‘Over-Reacting'
As ThinkProgress and others noted last week, the 2011 budget proposed by House Republicans — as well as the three-week continuing resolution they just passed — eliminates critical funding to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that will hamper the agency’s ability to track and respond to tsunamis. The agencysaid the cuts “will take away [our] ability to upgrade tsunami models and will put considerable stress on watchstanders ability to react.”
The cuts were roundly devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But this morning, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) — a Tea Party favorite and rigid ideologue on budget cuts — said he still favors the reduction, and dismissed calls to restore the funding because “we often over-react” to natural disasters:
KING: The tsunami warning centers, it’s really — the timing of that really puts attention on the subject matter. I don’t know that I would go back and look at that. I would ask people to come forward with the facts on this — how badly do we need them and do the tragic events in Japan give us a different perspective. I would look at it from a different perspective. I don’t know I would at this point know say that I’d be willing to make that change. I think we often over-react to emergencies, especially natural disasters, before we assess the limit of the damage, and particularly with the nuclear part of this
Yesterday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) also defended the cuts, saying “All of us need to be tempered by the fact that we’ve got to stop spending money we don’t have.” This follows a similar pattern of other conservatives trying to ignore the tragic reality of the events in Japan in service of their political goals. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said yesterday that reaction to the nuclear power crisis there is “overblown,” and Bill O’Reilly said the “worldwide media is hyping the nuke situation in Japan a bit too much.”