The Trump administration is considering drastically slashing several national security agency budgets to fund the President’s long-promised border wall, according to a leaked budget draft.
The draft, compiled by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and first obtained by the Washington Post, proposes to cut billions of dollars in funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration.
The Coast Guard’s budget would see a significant 14% cut while the TSA and FEMA would see their budgets slashed by about 11% each, according to the draft. The cuts would eliminate certain post-9/11 anti-terrorism programs at airports along with federal preparation and relief programs for hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security’s budget would be boosted by more than 6%, with some $ 2.9 billion earmarked for building a U.S.-Mexico border wall. An additional $ 1.9 billion would be reserved for funding “immigration detention beds” and hiring 1,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Overall, the budget for ICE, which is a subsidiary of the DHS, would balloon by 36% while the Customs and Border Protection budget would grow by 27%.
“The Budget prioritizes DHS law enforcement operations, proposes critical investments in front line border security and funds continued development of robust cybersecurity defenses,” the draft reads. “The Budget aggressively implements the President’s commitment to construct a physical wall along the southern border.”
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment from the Daily News.
But the proposed cuts drew bipartisan scorn for prioritizing Trump’s controversial wall proposal while sidelining other national security priorities.
GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Marine combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, blasted the budget draft as “appalling.”
Hunter, of California, took particular issue with slashing the Coast Guard budget.
“If President Trump means what he says, then he’ll reject OMB’s blatant disrespect for the Coast Guard and its mission, and remind his cabinet that the service is a critical element in protecting American security,” Hunter wrote in an op-ed published by Fox News on Tuesday evening. “Otherwise, America will be put at greater risk from the very organizations and criminal activity that President Trump himself has said must be confronted.”
Trump has repeatedly pledged to rebuild the U.S. military and eradicate ISIS — a promise that Hunter charged would be jeopardized by the current budget proposal.
The President’s embattled border wall has gone through a number of renditions and might end up being paid for by American taxpayers, according to experts. Trump promised during the campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, but the Central American country’s president has repeatedly rebuffed the claim.
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) ripped the budget proposal as “destructive” and “totally out of touch” with national security issues.
“(The proposal) will weaken security and undermine all of the progress that was made over the last 4-years,” Courtney said in a statement. “I will join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle…to stop this destructive plan from ever being implemented.”