The ‘party of national security’ no more

THE ‘PARTY OF NATIONAL SECURITY’ NO MORE…. About five years ago, the Bush administration’s Dubai Ports World deal sparked considerable controversy. In a counter-terrorism era, the argument went at the time, port security had to remain a key national priority.

Apparently, Republicans’ priorities have changed in the years since.

The GOP war on government spending is set to claim an unexpected casualty: port security in New York and New Jersey.

A measure passed by the House to fund the rest of the fiscal year would slash federal anti-terrorism cash for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey by a stunning 66%, a Daily News analysis found.

Nearly $34 million was budgeted to help keep the ports safe, but the Republican-led House voted to spend only $11 million in its proposal to cut $61 billion this year.

The cut was included in the GOP spending plan — dubbed the “So Be It Spending Plan” in some circles — passed by the House two weeks ago.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y) said this week, “From a security perspective and a dollars and cents perspective, it’s very shortsighted, it’s dangerous, and it’s wrong.

Of course, King voted for the Republicans’ spending plan, despite the fact that it included this shortsighted, dangerous, and wrong provision.

Indeed, I’m a little surprised this angle hasn’t gotten more attention in recent weeks. We know Republicans have targeted key domestic priorities — education, health care, transportation, medical research, food safety, job training, etc. — with brutal cuts, but these are issues “only liberals” care about.

What’s received far less attention is the fact that Republicans went after security-related measures, too. This includes gutting border security, which the GOP generally pretends to care about, and now port security in New York and New Jersey.

This also includes cuts to U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, slashing funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s counter-proliferation programs, and even eliminating funds to maintain the nation’s nuclear stockpile.

House Republicans even voted to cut housing subsidies for homeless American veterans.

I realize the GOP considers the mantle of “the party of national security” something of a birthright, but the Republican spending-cut plan should, if evidence and reason had any bearing on the discourse, undermine that reputation.