NEW YORK, NY (PIX 11)—Fighting the variety of security threats facing the New York City Metro Area costs money, about a half-billion federal dollars a year at last count. But a new proposal from the Republican Party slashes that amount so significantly that it has a prominent New York Republican fighting against his party on the issue.
House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King, a Republican from Seaford, Long Island, is working with Democrats to oppose a GOP bill that would cut homeland security funding by more than half.
The money, in the form of federal homeland security grants, pays for things like radiation detection devices, training law enforcement in anti-terror tactics, security camera systems and firefighter and police radios.
"It's absolutely insane trying to cut these grants," King said in an interview on the PIX Morning News Friday. "We have icons like Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal [to keep safe.]"
Currently, homeland security grants total about $2.2 billion annually. The GOP bill calls for that amount to be $1 billion in the next federal budget. It's a figure that is in sharp contrast to President Barack Obama's budget proposal, which seeks $2.82 billion in homeland security funds.
Democrats vow to try to gain funding at the level the president is seeking, and Peter King is vowing to work with Democrats. "I assure you I will do all I can to get this thing done," he told PIX11 News.
The Republican bill has a long way to go before it could be adopted, and noting the obstacles it still has to cross, it seems unlikely that it would pass Congress in its current form. It will be debated Friday in the House Appropriations Subcommittee. However, in order to become law, the bill would have to be approved by that subcommittee, then pass muster with the full Appropriations Committee, and get a similar bill to pass the senate, which is controlled by Democrats.