LoBiondo Blasts Trump Administration's Reported Proposed Cuts to Port Security, CG Operations

Kristopher Drake
March 9, 2017

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was looking to help pay for the border wall with cutbacks at a slew of agencies, including the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Transportation Security Administration.

The report said the Office of Management and Budget is seeking to cut the Coast Guard's $9.1 billion budget by 14 percent, to $7.8 billion.

Not only has Trump ordered that the US build a new physical barrier along its 1,250-mile border with Mexico, the president has also moved forward with plans to hire 10,000 new federal immigration enforcement officers and 5,000 Border Patrol agents.

A recent report suggested the border wall would cost about $21.6 billion and take at least three years to build.

The border wall was a major focus of President Donald Trump's campaign, but he also ran on protecting the USA against terrorism.

The moves, which reportedly are being questioned by some Republican lawmakers, would raise the budgets for ICE by 36 percent and Border Protection by 27 percent. It would also eliminate grants to local law enforcement agencies to increase patrols around airports. Trump promised during the campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, but the Central American country's President has repeatedly rebuffed the claim.

Spokespersons for the White House and OMB said it's "premature" to comment on the proposals.

"A$3 s preparations are made for a wall on the Southwest border, migrants, smugglers and potential terrorists will look to America's shores and waterways for entry", writes Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) of California, one of Trump's earliest backers, in an opinion piece for Fox News. The Department of Homeland Security, the agency being expanded by more than six percent is now costing taxpayers $43.8 billion. When ABC News' David Muir asked in January if American taxpayers will pay for the wall at first, Trump said Mexico would pay the USA back "100 percent".

Proposed cuts to FEMA, which provides 75 percent of funds to states for natural disaster relief, may put senators in an uncomfortable position given this year's winter tornado outbreak. "I will join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle on the Coast Guard caucus to stop this destructive plan from ever being implemented".

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