Dems pounce on GOP lawmaker's criticism of transit security cuts

Democrats are going after Republicans for backing cuts to port and transit security in the House spending bill, after a senior GOP lawmaker called them “wrong” and “dangerous.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday sent out statements criticizing more than 50 GOP members who voted for the Republican bill that slashed $61 billion in federal spending over seven months, including funding for port and transit security. The committee was seizing on comments by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the GOP chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, who on Sunday said the country could not afford the security cuts and called them “too dangerous.”

“Everyone knows that the government needs to cut spending, but Rep. Renee Ellmers and House Republicans voted to put North Carolina families at risk by dangerously slashing funding for port security and transit security,” DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in one press release. “Instead of cutting their own office budgets, Ellmers voted to gut port and transit security by two-thirds which even the Republican Homeland Security Chairman says is dangerous.”

Democrats have made political hay out of a number of specific cuts in the House spending bill, including reductions in funding for education programs like Head Start. King criticized the security cuts despite voting for the broader bill.

“I think that a number of the cuts Republicans have made in the continuing resolution are wrong,” King said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”  “They cut port security by two-thirds, they cut transit security by two-thirds.”

“We cannot afford those cuts, they are too dangerous,” King said. “And one attack on subway train or one attack in one port will cost us more money going into the future years than any amount, any small amount they're saving.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.