1:12 PM By Reid Epstein
The Tea Party-influenced continuing resolution to the federal budget proposed Friday by House Republican leadership has two early local critics: Reps. Peter King (R-Seaford) and Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island).
King and Grimm took a clear shot at GOP leadership this morning, bemoaning cuts to mass transit, the federal low-income heating assistance program, and law enforcement.
The two downstate Republicans sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) urging the reinstatement of $400 million for low-income heating assistance, $200 million in mass transit security grants, $150 million to Amtrak and an unstated amount to the COPS law enforcement program.
“We absolutely believe that deep budget cuts are required,” King and Grimm say in their letter. “We have concluded, however, that the totality of the cuts proposed by the Republican Conference will impose a disproportionate impact on our region. We ask you, therefore, to reconsider these cuts in light of their particular harmful effect on the NYC-LI region.”
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Speaker Boehner:
While we agree with you that it is absolutely essential to reduce government spending, we must express our grave concern with various budget cuts included in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution which we believe disproportionally impact the downstate New York City-Long Island region.
Most troubling is the $200 million cut in transit security grants. These transit grants are vital to protecting the millions of New Yorkers who use the subway and LIRR-Metro North commuter lines each day.
Our region has been and continues to be the top terrorist target in the country and these deep cuts put the lives of our constituents at risk—especially since we know al-Qaeda’s history of attacking trains in London and Madrid.
Second, the continuing resolution makes severe cuts to various law enforcement programs including money for COPS Programs and State and Local Law Enforcement. It even terminates a COPS hiring program. Once again, we feel that these cuts are misguided and put at risk the safety and security of our communities which desperately need additional community policing programs and more law enforcement officers on the streets.
Next, the cuts of over $150 million to Amtrak will severely impact rail traffic in the Northeast Corridor. This corridor is vital to our economy and national security.
Finally, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) receives an almost $400 million cut in the continuing resolution as well. LIHEAP is crucial to homeowners in the Northeast.
As we have said Mr. Speaker, we absolutely believe that deep budget cuts are required. We have concluded, however, that the totality of the cuts proposed by the Republican Conference will impose a disproportionate impact on our region. We ask you, therefore, to reconsider these cuts in light of their particular harmful effect on the NYC-LI region.
PETER T. KING MICHAEL G. GRIMM
Member of Congress Member of Congress