Some key Long Island priorities — homeland security, Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Long Island Sound — were hit by funding cuts in the $4 trillion budget proposed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday, according to Reps. Peter King (R-Seaford) and Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City).
Republican legislative leaders said they will block Obama’s last budget, but it still presents a blueprint for his legislative agenda this year.
That concerns King, a former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, who said it slashes state and local homeland security grants.
“We’re talking about $600 million dollars in cuts, at a time when the threat of terrorism has never been higher,” said King, referring to funding that also includes other grants such as those for firefighters.
The budget cuts the Urban Area Security Initiative — which aids the New York City area — from $600 million to $330 million; State Homeland Security Grants from $467 million to $200 million; Port Security Grants from $100 million to $93 million and Transit Security Grants from $100 million to $85 million.
The budget also adds $100 million for a new Regional Competitive Grant program to address gaps in security.
The funding cuts reflect “successful investments” in the past and are based on the level of state and local capability in providing security rather than “the funding levels of prior years,” the budget document said.
King said there shouldn’t be fights over grants because they “are basically federal programs being implemented locally.”
Rice called the budget’s cut in funding for the restoration of Long Island Sound “a mistake.” That program is now funded at $3.9 million but the budget request for 2017 is $2.9 million.
She added, “Under this budget, the Brookhaven National Laboratory would be funded at the lowest level in three years.” Funding for Brookhaven is now $482.3 million but the budget seeks $477 million.
Rice said she would fight to ensure both programs are fully funded.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) also objected to the $1 million cut to Long Island Sound restoration. “I’ll fight to ensure that this funding is restored through my work on the Appropriations Committee,” he said.
Rice, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) praised many of the budget’s programs.
But Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) criticized Obama for failing to deliver a balanced budget.