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Another Facet of This Well Conceived Budget



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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