The National Weather Service Employees Organization endorsed U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono for U.S. Senate on Sunday in part because of her opposition to $126 million in House Republican budget cuts to the weather service in 2011 that could have impacted the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach.
But this year, it is the Obama administration that has been criticized for proposing about $30 million in cuts to the weather service for fiscal year 2013, including money for tsunami awareness and the maintenance of deep-ocean tsunami warning buoys.
House Republicans rejected the Obama administration’s cuts and restored the money in their version of the annual spending bill for commerce and justice programs approved in May. The Senate looks to follow.
Former Gov. Linda Lingle’s campaign pointed out on Thursday that Hirono, like most Democrats, voted against the Republican-backed bill.
“Hirono voted against the best interest of our state – a state in a tsunami high-risk zone – and against one of our most important life-saving tools, by voting against fully funding the Tsunami Warning Network,” retired Maj. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee, Lingle’s campaign manager, said in a statement.