Government Briefs

The Honoring First Responders stamp.

 

First Responders Honored

On Tuesday, September 18, Congressman Lee Zeldin joined the U.S. Postal Service and local first responders for the dedication ceremony of the Honoring First Responders Stamp. The stamp portrays three first responders as they race into action.

“Our nation’s first responders put their lives on the line each and every day to protect ours, and they have earned nothing less than our utmost gratitude,” said Congressman Zeldin after the dedication ceremony. “It is so important that in everything we do we honor these brave men and women for their service to our communities and nation. Now as we mail letters and cards to our family, friends, and loved ones, we will always be reminded that their safety and security is thanks to our local first responders.”

Schumer Decries Cuts

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is railing against a White House proposal to cut more than 20 percent of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration budget. Schumer said the cuts could cripple the federal government’s ability to gather critical weather data that translates into the forecasts we all rely upon when hurricanes, tropical storms, and other major weather events occur.

“A storm is brewing at the federal level when it comes to our ability to robustly track the paths of severe weather events and deliver early warning forecasts to the public,” Schumer said. “That is why we need to put high pressure on Congress to stop the unwise cuts proposed by the Administration that could impact everything from our weather forecasters to our critical data gathering and modeling methods that scientists use to perfect predicting and in turn save lives on the ground when an erratic storm begins its churn.”

Under the Administration’s proposed plan for NOAA, the agency would see a 23 percent slash to its overall budget. Funding for NOAA for the 2018 fiscal year was allocated at $5.9 billion. Schumer’s plan to prevent these cuts rests on his ability to negotiate a bi-partisan spending bill by the end of this month, also known as a continuing resolution, which he hopes can fund NOAA at levels experts would say allow it to perform its critical work. Schumer says this agreement must be bi-partisan if it is to pass and noted high hopes for getting this done.

“Tracking dangerous storms and ensuring the federal government has the tools, the satellites, and the manpower necessary to forecast wild weather should not be a political undertaking, and so I am hopeful I can work with colleagues to stop the Administration’s cuts to NOAA via the upcoming spending bill that we should pass by the end of the month,” Schumer noted.

One of the largest cuts within NOAA includes a massive cut to critical NOAA research. The NOAA is the federal government’s scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce. The mission of NOAA is “to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, and to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.” NOAA is the federal entity responsible for weather satellites, storm tracking, and scientific modeling.

The Atlantic Ocean currently has four named storms churning, a largely unprecedented occurrence, that Schumer says should help propel bi-partisan cooperation to stop unwise and ominous cuts to NOAA and its operations. Hurricane season ends November 1.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com