Tsunami Monitoring Threatened In Republican Budget Cuts

March 11, 2011 1:59 pm ET — Walid Zafar

The severe budget cuts proposed by House Republicans endanger national security. Those who support the cuts have ridiculously tried to argue that those who oppose the cuts don't care about the future well-being of the country. As we noted last month, that charge is outlandish. The proposal Republicans have put forth include cuts to a wide range of critical national security programs that keep people alive, including port and transportation security programs, nuclear non-proliferation initiatives, foreign aid assistance and even border security projects along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Republican funding bill would also cut a reported $126 million from the National Weather Service, about 30 percent of agencies total budget. In all, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would have its budget cut by $454 million. Those cuts would certainly endanger the vital work of the the two tsunami warning centers maintained by NOAA in Hawaii and Alaska. In the context of the disastrous earthquake northern Japan and the resulting tsunami, it's not hard to see what effect those cuts might have had on our ability to monitor the tsunami heading towards our shores.

As Steve Benen adds, "Is it wrong and/or exploitative to point this out? I don't think so. There's an intense budget fight underway in Washington, and critics of the Republicans' push for brutal domestic cuts have said the GOP plan would cause serious, real-world consequences. That happens to be true. The fact that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center would face furloughs and rolling closures if Republicans have their way matters, and today's tragedy helps drive home why it matters."