The U.S. House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing Thursday to discuss the deadly Boston terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of three people and injured hundreds more.
Republicans, for their part, came prepared to discuss a wide range of issues, including radical Islam, lapses in the U.S. intelligence community, and faulty immigration mechanisms.
Democrats, on the other hand, were a little more single-minded: A contingent of them really wanted to talk about budget cuts. Like, they really wanted to talk about it.
Here are four Democrats who asked pretty much the exact same question of Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis and former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, two of the chief witnesses at Thursday’s hearing:
4. Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.)
“Senator,” Congressman Barber began, “before you left the senate, we were dealing with the sequestration issue and I’d like to ask your opinion about how you believe sequestration has impacted on our efforts to both prevent as well as to respond to a tragedy like this in the future.”
“I’m particularly interested in what parts of the department of Homeland Security or, at that matter, any other budget or federal agency you would give priority to as we try to figure out how to deal with sequestration,” he added.
3. Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.)
“Have you seen the same reduced level of funding in Boston over the last couple of years [that my district has]?” the congressman asked Commissioner Davis. “If so, you know, what has that been? And how are you grappling with it?”
2. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.)
“Because of the sequester, Homeland Security funding could be threatened in the future,” the California representative said.
“What would be threatened if you did not have that funding in the future?” he later asked:
1. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.)
“If, in fact, the monies that we have provided to your department were not available, and the training that went with the money as well as the equipment, how would you have been able to respond to [the bombings]?” the Mississippi Democrat asked Commissioner Davis:
And there’s also this from Rep. Thompson:
Anyone who has doubts about the value of Federal grant dollars should be reminded of the brave actions of the first responders on April 15.
So as this congress continues to cut funding for these programs, I hope my colleagues on the other side who are members of the committee will oppose these cuts.
“Refusal to support these funding cuts will be the greatest tribute any of us could make to the people of the Boston area,” he adds.
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Featured image Associated Press. This post has been updated.