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Another Facet of This Well Conceived Budget

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Trump has a great way to pay for the idiotic border wall: take millions away from airport security, gut the Coast Guard, and eviscerate FEMA.

The Trump administration, searching for money to build the president’s planned multibillion-dollar border wall and crack down on illegal immigration, is weighing significant cuts to the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration and other agencies focused on national security threats, according to a draft plan.

The proposal, drawn up by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), also would slash the budget of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides disaster relief after hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. The Coast Guard’s $9.1 billion budget in 2017 would be cut 14 percent to about $7.8 billion, while the TSA and FEMA budgets would be reduced about 11 percent each to $4.5 billion and $3.6 billion, respectively.

The cuts are proposed even as the planned budget for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees all of them, grows 6.4 percent to $43.8 billion, according to the plan, which was obtained by The Washington Post. Some $2.9 billion of that would go to building the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, with $1.9 billion funding “immigration detention beds” and other Immigration and Customs Enforcement expenses and $285 million set aside to hire 500 more Border Patrol agents and 1,000 more ICE agents and support staffers.

Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R.-Calif.), who supported Donald Trump’s run for president and oversees the House Transportation subcommittee on the Coast Guard and maritime transportation, questioned whether OMB officials are on the same page as President Trump, citing the sea service’s roles in stopping illegal immigration and the flow of drugs into the United States from South America.

“OMB has always treated the Coast Guard like a little piggy bank that they can go after whenever they need money for anything else,” Hunter said. “If the president is serious about getting after the cartels and getting after drug networks, this makes no sense.”

The Coast Guard cuts include deactivating Maritime Security Response Teams, which carry out counterterrorism patrols in ports and sensitive waterways, and canceling a contract with Huntington Ingalls Industries to build a ninth national security cutter, with a potential savings of $500 million.

Good thing no one can sail from Mexico to the United States. This plan is truly fool proof. Cocaine will disappear from the United States.

And then there’s this:

At FEMA, a corner of the federal government whose budgets were beefed up after the 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina, the proposed cuts would slash some programs whose effectiveness has long come under criticism. Research into bio-surveillance threats and other research and development work that gets tens of millions of dollars in federal funding a year would take a 28 percent hit, examples of programs the budget proposal describes as “having failed to show meaningful results.”

But the spending plan — which could cut $361 million from FEMA’s $3.5 billion budget — also eliminates or reduces the federal commitment to helping states and local governments prepare for natural disasters through training, salaries and benefits for staff, coordination and state-of the-art equipment. These grants help communities prepare for emergencies so that local and state governments can coordinate and respond quickly.

Heck of a job Trumpy! The next time a hurricane rips through New Orleans or Miami or an earthquake decimates California, the federal response will be awesome. Of course, in the latter case, Trump and his merry band of fascists will probably laugh at the dying liberals.

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  • Lot_49

    Pretty sure Lieberman is to blame for this. Somehow.

    • That’s easy. Holy Joe significantly weakened the ACA, including that last ditch compromise which almost got a Medicare buy-in. With that, it’s easy to see enough people in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania bothering to vote Democratic to have prevented this running clusterfuck.

      • That is a complete misunderstanding of just how passive many voters are. Once they had a benefit, they stopped understanding that it could be taken away from them. Very few voters, except those in the permanently woke stage like AA, Native American, Immigrant, etc… categories realized just how fragile everything was. Trump and the GOP told them what they wanted to do, but people are generally just unable to believe how far apart the two parties are in their goals and their capabilities.

        • Davis X. Machina

          people are generally just unable to believe how far apart the two parties are in their goals and their capabilities.

          They’re also given no incentive to do so by popular culture, and no data to chew on about the differences.

          “Don’t vote, it just encourages them.”

          • It was kinda a joke (blaming Lieberman for things is fun!, mostly because he deserves it!), but I don’t think it’s implausible that a significant improvement in the ACA like a Medicare buy in could’ve shifted the vote meaningfully in three states that all went Trump by <1%, and 100,000 votes overall.

            • MPAVictoria

              Yeah I don’t think your claim is unreasonable at all.

              /Better handling of the foreclosure crisis by the Obama administration also could have done it
              //Also Comey not being a fucking asshole.

          • Breadbaker

            I stopped reading Bloom County about the end of the conventions because he was featuring a sort of “both sides do it so vote for my characters” instead that made me ill.

  • MPAVictoria

    The world is being run by idiots.

    • Dennis Orphen

      It’s not just labor that capital actively keeps free from progressive/activist elements. They filter out troublemakers in management too.

    • JR in WV

      Cutting the resources of the Coast Guard, while worrying about nuclear weapons developed recently by North Korea, seems stupid.

      Especially since N Korea has no way to deliver their special weapons they have recently developed, except perhaps on rusty freighters bringing the products of China to the US. A special weapon on-board a freighter just arrived from SE Asia could destroy any of the ports on the west Coast of the US, many of them adjacent to Navy bases.

      And the Coast Guard is just about the only layer of protection we have against such an attack. Then we would need FEMA to move emergency supplies into the area devastated by the use of a North Korean special weapon on our West Coast. And the CDC to deal with the typical diseases spread by a disaster, like typhus and cholera. All the agencies the Trumpbots would strip to the bone to build that WALL we need so badly.

      Not paying any attention to the fact that most Mexican immigrants arrive into airports with legal visas that they overstay.

  • MaxUtility

    I have a feeling we’re going to hear versions of this phrased used a lot, “If the president is serious about … this makes no sense.”

  • Republicans have never seen a prudent plan for averting or mitigating a crisis, without seeing a diabolical attempt to steal food from the mouth of the disaster capitalist.

  • CaptainBringdown

    Some $2.9 billion of that would go to building the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border

    Roughly 10% of what the wall will cost.

    • Breadbaker

      So in future years we can expect Mexico to be paying for the Coast Guard and TSA?

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      Closer to 30% if he goes with the Ikea option

  • “If the president is serious about getting after the cartels and getting after drug networks, this makes no sense.”

    I dunno. Maybe he figures he can get a cut of their action. Art of the deal, baby!!!

  • The cuts are proposed even as the planned budget for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees all of them, grows 6.4 percent to $43.8 billion, according to the plan, which was obtained by The Washington Post. Some $2.9 billion of that would go to building the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, with $1.9 billion funding “immigration detention beds” and other Immigration and Customs Enforcement expenses and $285 million set aside to hire 500 more Border Patrol agents and 1,000 more ICE agents and support staffers.

    There it is. To the extent that there’s a plan, it’s to make living in America illegally so awful and frightening that millions of people pack up and go . . . wherever.

    “immigration detention beds”, Jebus.

    • Whirrlaway

      FEMA camps used to be fake news, but not anymore.

    • El Guapo

      I mean, if you concentrate real hard, you might conceive of this as a camp of some sort.

  • busker type

    A friend of a friend in college wrote a song called “its time for all the hippies to join the coast guard”
    It was all about confiscating drugs and getting high on them.
    For whatever reason the coast guard never gets the same respect as the other armed services!

    • Davis X. Machina

      Not universally true.

      There’s a lot of griping up heah about their licensing arm, and their enforcement activities w/r/t safety gear, and fisheries, but a lot of people who earn a living on the water have the Coasties to thank for being alive, still having their boat, etc.

      They do a lot of un-sexy stuff like servicing aids to navigation and ice breaking with old, patched-together assets.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        As a recreational boater, I have nothing but love for the Coast Guard. It’s incredible what they will do for people who get into deep shit on the water.

        • PeteW

          A very good book about one rescue is “The finest Hours”. Haven’t seen the movie yet.

          • Lost Left Coaster

            Movie was interesting but not entirely my style. However, the story of that rescue is absolutely amazing.

      • wengler

        I always thought it was hilarious when I used to watch Deadliest Catch how fucking whiny the crab fishers got when they had a random inspection. Then in the next scene they’d show the PJs go rescue a fishing boat crew from certain death.

        Those fishermen got protection and rescue service for pennies on the dollar and couldn’t seem to do anything but complain about it.

        • David Allan Poe

          Yeah, there’s a certain awkwardness to having the regulatory and rescue agency be the same. Most everybody’s aware of it, and it’s pretty easy to get any particular fisherman who’s bitching about inspection or having to get their life raft repacked in order pass to admit that Coasties are pretty great, when you get right down to it. Getting boarded really isn’t even that big a deal. From a deckhand’s perspective, it breaks up the monotony of the day a little.

          And I have friends who are alive because of them. I like the Coast Guard, and am totally unsurprised that Trump’s budget cuts one of the best things the federal government does in order to funnel money to dumb waste.

    • CP

      For whatever reason the coast guard never gets the same respect as the other armed services!

      They’re not considered combat-oriented the way the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps are. People see the Coast Guard’s job as the maritime equivalent of saving kitties from trees. Which isn’t true (IIRC they even deployed to Iraq/the Persian Gulf), but cliches like this so rarely are.

      • busker type

        Yeah, I think that’s it in a nutshell

      • You are correct. They did deploy to the Persian Gulf. Not many people know that.

    • The Coast Guard does great work. Unfortunately they’re always last in line for funding.

  • Lord Jesus Perm

    The next time a hurricane rips through New Orleans or Miami or an earthquake decimates California, the federal response will be awesome.

    Don’t worry, Erik. It’ll just be an opportunity for New Orleans to undergo another rebirth.

  • Just_Dropping_By

    Trump and his merry band of fascists

    Hmmmm.

    The Coast Guard’s $9.1 billion budget in 2017 would be cut 14 percent to about $7.8 billion, while the TSA . . . budget[] would be reduced about 11 percent . . . to $4.5 billion

    It’s a strange band of fascists who reduce spending on internal security forces….

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Read the whole excerpt and it might save you from silly comments like that.

      The cuts are proposed even as the planned budget for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees all of them, grows 6.4 percent to $43.8 billion, according to the plan, which was obtained by The Washington Post. Some $2.9 billion of that would go to building the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, with $1.9 billion funding “immigration detention beds” and other Immigration and Customs Enforcement expenses and $285 million set aside to hire 500 more Border Patrol agents and 1,000 more ICE agents and support staffers.

      He’s redirecting money from Coast Guard (provides security but also helps people!) and FEMA (helps people!) to lock up more people, hire more agents to chase down immigrants, and to build walls. So, yeah. Kinda fascist.

      • Bitter Scribe

        Or kinda Republican. Spending money to help people, in any way, is enabling moochers and takers.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          You’d think that after Katrina the Republicans might have learned a lesson about the political downside of having an incompetent, underfunded FEMA. But stupid me…I used the words “learn” and “Republicans” in the same sentence, rendering it nonsensical.

          • Hogan

            You give lots of money to FEMA and the next thing you know Republican governors are hugging Obama. It’s just a bad idea all around.

            • N__B

              Obama seemed to survive the encounter, despite the ever-present risk of cooties.

          • BruceJ

            Katrina got them a lot of bad press, but on the upside they got to destroy New Orleans’ public school system and cleared out a lot of black people “undesirables” from the city. If you have no shame, bad press rolls off your back, if it increases property values.

      • D.N. Nation

        Aww. The Widdle Wibertawian Twoll didn’t do his homework.

  • Bitter Scribe

    Well, Trump didn’t get any votes by parading victims of floods and hurricanes before crowds, so they can just suffer.

  • Long before another Katrina makes landfall or an earthquake like the one in 94 hits California, several tornadoes will have plowed up parts of the country that Republicans think of as Real America.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Like the Hurricane Sandy hypocrites, they’ll somehow manage to thread the needle of “disaster relief for people who vote for me, but not for thee.”

      • busker type

        I haven’t followed it, but I think the story was more like they hadn’t even bothered with that… they are both evil and stupid.

  • DrDick

    Just more of that astute business acumen at work. Anybody that thinks CEOs are generally bright or have any idea what they are doing has not been paying attention.

  • gmoot

    I’d be ok with a localized hurricane wiping out Mar-O-Lago. With real damage this time, not the exaggerated damage that Trump claimed so that he could pocket a $17M insurance payout.

    We’d warn the staff ahead.

  • EvanHarper

    In fairness, and although I doubt that the Coast Guard is just ripe for big budget cuts, Duncan Hunter’s opinion on anything to do with shipbuilding is not very informative. He would happily defend building floating palaces and then towing them out to sea and sinking them, as long as NASSCO got to bid for them.

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