House Speaker John Boehner praised Aurora, Colorado’s first responders today, but what he didn’t mention is House Republicans have slashed funding for emergency responders.
Here is the video:
Boehner said, “We join President Obama in sending condolences and prayers to the loved ones of those who were killed and wounded. And we all say ‘thank God’ for the police, the first responders, the doctors, and the nurses whose swift and heroic efforts saved lives.”
Speaker’s praise for the response of police is well deserved. Police were on the scene within two minutes of the first 9-1-1 calls. Their fast response saved lives, but beneath Boehner’s praise was a pile of hypocrisy.
Republicans like John Boehner and Mitt Romney are vocal supporters of the Ryan budget, which slashes billions of dollars in federal funding for local police and fire departments. In 2011, House Republicans specifically targeted federal grants for first responder funding as part of an attempted $100 billion budget cut.
In June 2012, Republican nominee Mitt Romney went on Fox News and claimed that his budget doesn’t cut first responder funding because the federal government doesn’t provide funding to first responders.
Romney said,”That’s a very strange accusation. Of course, teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So obviously that is completely absurd.”
As a former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney knows from personal experience that the federal government provides funding to states and localities for teachers, police, firefighters, and other first responders.
What Romney didn’t want to admit is that his budget plan would slash first responder funding by an estimated $12 billion per year.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated the Republican position, “It is not the responsibility of the federal government … to send money down to state government so that state governments don’t have to make tough decisions about balancing their budgets. We all admire police officers, firefighters and teachers. The decision about how many of those folks to have rests in the hands of state and local governments.”
When pressed neither McConnell nor his office would go on record and state that they favor cutting first responders. However, the Republican Party’s recent voting record on this issue speaks for itself.
While praising these brave men and women in public, privately a majority of Republicans support cutting federal government for first responders.
Republicans love to “thank God” for first responders. It’s too bad that they don’t want to adequately fund them.