More anti-terror cash for NYC? Rep. Pete King set to take control of Homeland Security CommitteeBy Michael Mcauliff
January 4, 2011
WASHINGTON - The GOP takeover of the House on Wednesday offers liberal New York one bright spot: Long Islander Pete King takes control of the powerful Homeland Security Committee.
The Nassau County Republican is already making it a "major priority" to steer as much federal cash as possible to the city's anti-terror operations.
"We are clearly the No. 1 terrorist target in the country and have been shortchanged for too many years," King said.
"This is a matter of life and death."
King has tussled with the White House for two years over funding for various New York City security programs, which the Obama White House has deemed sufficiently funded.
Local Republicans plan on making it their mission to change that viewpoint.
"The rest of the country has to recognize certain things about New York City," said new Staten Island GOP Rep. Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent.
"We are one of two top terror targets, along with Washington."
Even if Republicans are on New York's side when it comes to security funding, other parts of the GOP agenda pose a major threat - including new House Speaker John Boehner's plan to cut $100 billion in spending, while sparing the defense budget.
"New York is exposed on a lot of levels," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens). "If you do the math, for them to get the cuts they want...means they're going to have to do like a 20% cut to things like housing."
Democrats hope political reality could soften the GOP's budget ax.
One GOP insider told the Daily News that cuts are easier to propose than make.
"Even though the people who elected us want cuts, it doesn't mean they want their Medicare cut, they don't want their mortgage deduction cut," the insider said.
Repealing health care reform will be the first symbolic fight for Republicans.
They've scheduled a vote to spike the landmark legislation next week - a move that is likely to succeed only in winning points with the Republican base.
The first battle that could have real impact will be the struggle to keep the government running by raising the national debt ceiling.
Many Republicans are vowing to spike that proposal, though it would mean shutting down the government.
Grimm, for one, thought his party would have to blink at least once when the $14.3 trillion cap is hit early this year while they figure out how to cut later.
"It may be necessary to raise that debt ceiling one more time because a government shutdown would be worse," Grimm said.