WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US House of Representatives has voted to shave more than a billion dollars from next year’s Department of Homeland Security budget as part of its deficit reduction plan.
The Republican-held House voted 231 to 188 to cut the fiscal 2012 budget by $1.1 billion to $40.6 billion for the agency charged with fighting terror and guarding US borders.
The budget, whose fiscal year begins on October 1, is $3 billion, or seven percent less than President Barack Obama’s request
“Providing for critical national security measures is a funding priority, and I’m pleased we’ve done so expediently while still cutting spending to more sustainable levels,” said Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers, who chairs the committee that oversees the agency’s budget.
Democrats, however, denounced the cuts, calling them counter-productive.
“This bill is simply an assault against the progress we’ve made protecting the homeland over the past ten years,” said Bennie Thompson, the highest-ranking Democrat on the panel.
Thompson also criticized the bill for eliminating bargaining rights for Transportation Security Administration employees.
“Furthering the Republican anti-worker political agenda, this bill prevents TSA screeners from collective bargaining rights and calls for the elimination of up to 8,000 critical jobs,” he added.