Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) slammed his Republicans colleagues on Tuesday for prioritizing the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) over "life saving" infrastructure.
Garamendi said the proposed energy and water budget ignored the need to "protect human life," because it would spend more than $7 billion on nuclear weapons while cutting funding for levees. He said flooding in his congressional district in northern California posed a serious and potentially deadly risk to his constituents.
"Thousands of lives are at risk, yet the majority cannot seem to find the money necessary to protect human life, but plenty of money for nuclear weapons," he added. "The [U.S. Army] Corps of Engineers' budget is decimated and for the last three years we have not been able to get one new project, even though human life is at risk."
The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act would cut the Corps of Engineers' budget by $104 million in 2014. The budget bill would also increase spending on the NNSA's nuclear weapons activities by $98 million, though other areas of the agency would face a $235 million cut.
Garamendi told Republicans they should be "ashamed" of their priorities. He described the budget as an "abomination" and "disgrace."
Republicans, however, insisted their proposed budget was fiscally responsible and had good priorities. Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) noted the budget would invest in repairs and upgrades to ports and waterways. But Garamendi continued to question why Republicans thought it was necessary to increase spending on nuclear weapons. He said funding for research agencies like the Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Office of Science had been "gutted"
"Where are the priorities of the House of Representatives? Is it to build more nuclear weapons, that by the grace of God we will never use?" he asked. "Or is it to build a levee? Or is it to make sure the researchers at our universities and laboratories have the money they need to really deal with the problem of the future, which is climate change?"
Watch video, courtesy of C-SPAN, below: