Long Island Congressman Peter King says that he learned about Congressional Republicans plans to cut security spending at the United Nations this morning when he joined his colleagues among the House leadership for their weekly meeting in the majority leader Eric Cantor’s office.
Needless to say, King, who has frequently defied party orthodoxy on the issue of homeland security spending cuts to New York City, said that he strongly stated his objection.
“I strongly stated my objection, but the fact is right now they are dug in,” he said.
King said that he could understand the objection by his House colleagues, calling the measure to re-allocate money a “three-fer” for some on both sides of the aisle: it is a vote to cute spending, a vote to cut spending to New York City and a vote to cut spending to the United Nations. He also noted that many were right to say that money allocated for a specific purpose–in this case to keep employees at the United Nations on a similar pay scale to their international colleagues–should go back into the U.S. Treasury.
But he said that the $100 million figure to secure the U.N. complex on the east side of Manhattan had been arrived at carefully and in close consultation with NYPD commisioner Ray Kelly, and King say that the complex was due for a full-scale security upgrade.
King added that back channel talks were in place at the moment to restore the money through the normal allocation process, but he said it was unclear how that would clear parliamentary hurdles.
The bill is slated to come to the floor tomorrow and will need to be approved by a two-thirds vote. The vast majority of Republicans will likely vote to cut the funding, but it is unclear where the majority of the Democratic conference stands.
King refused to say if this entire episode meant that Republicans should take another look at Cantor’s citizen-driven YouCut initiative, but he did say, “If we are going to cut, we should look at something and make sure it is as simple as it appears to be.
“This is a matter of life and death.”