GOP Would Cut Tsunami Warning Funding

The House's $61 billion in funding cuts would undercut early warning about tsunamis.


The tragedy of a killer earthquake striking off the coast of Japan, along with the tsunami-sized ripples it has sent across the Pacific Ocean, remind us that there are real world consequences to some of the budget cuts passed by the House of Representatives a couple of weeks ago.

Indeed, the $61 billion the GOP wants to cut from spending this year includes a 28 percent decrease in funding for the National Weather Service (h/t Steve Benen), which includes the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which is located in Hawaii. As the Associated Press reports this afternoon:

A spending plan approved by the House would slash funding for a tsunami warning center that issued an alarm after the devastating earthquake in Japan.

The plan approved by the GOP-controlled House last month would trigger deep cuts for the National Weather Service, including the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.

You know having that center open and running full time seems like a pretty good idea right about now. When the GOP spending bill first passed, Democratic Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa warned that “drastically reducing the … ability to forecast weather and alert our communities about imminent, dangerous events is irresponsible.”

[ See photos of the aftermarth of the Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami.]

As Mother Jones points out, this is like when Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal mocked Volcano monitoring mere months before an Icelandic volcano wreaked havoc in Europe. This is a reminder that budget cuts aren’t abstract and they’re not simply a question of tidily cleaning up wasteful spending. They have real world consequences.