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Sequester in AL: We'll Just Shoot the Tornadoes! Who Needs the National Weather Service?

Photo by Florencia Guedes

Bad news for those of us who live in what AL-05 Congressman Mo Brooks derisively calls one of those "areas vulnerable to storms."  As we head into peak tornado season in Alabama, we may be doing so with a hobbled National Weather Service. 

According to the Federal Times:

Government managers could also face wrenching decisions on which missions and employees are most needed. For the National Weather Service to handle an 8.2 percent cut, all of its approximately 4,600 employees would have to be furloughed for four weeks, said Richard Hirn, general counsel for the National Weather Service Employees Organization. Under that scenario, Hirn saw no way for the agency to maintain around-the-clock operations at its 122 forecasting offices.

“It’s just not going to work,” he said.

Huntsville has a National Weather Service office - one that required an Act of Congress to keep open (thank you, former Congressman Bud Cramer!)...

Since the National Weather Service no longer had plans to keep an office open in Huntsville, Congressman Bud Cramer sought Congressional legislation to do this. After a decade of uncertainty, $3 million in startup money was budgeted in the Fiscal Year 2002 Commerce, Justice, and State appropriations bill for a new full service Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Huntsville.

The office was later expanded and played a critical role in providing life-saving information during the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak.

Wow.  What a change a decade makes. Instead of a congressman who could work with Congress to support necessary services in his district, we now have a congressman who's main interest appears to be burning bridges instead of building them.

As the countdown clock ticks inexorably towards sequestration, the congressman from a district that receives half of the state's defense revenue wasn't in Washington desperately advocating compromise. No, he left that to Huntsville's mayor, County Commission, and other area leaders. Where was Mo Brooks this past weekend?  Defending the 2nd Amendment.

If Brooks isn't interested in his own district's well being, why should anyone else in Washington care? It's not a stretch to think that cutbacks in all areas might begin first in the districts represented by congressmen/women who support these budget cuts.

That's us, folks!  But don't worry, we can always shoot at the tornadoes if they threaten us this spring. If nothing else, it will give us something to do with the last 10 seconds of our lives.

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