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"Dems slam Trump over potential airport security cuts"
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Dems slam Trump over potential airport security cuts
By Melanie Zanona
Democrats slammed President Trump on Wednesday for reportedly considering major
funding cuts to national security for U.S. airports, train stations and ports,
saying it would make the country more susceptible to terrorist attacks.
The administration is weighing budget reductions to the Coast Guard, the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other federal agencies to help
pay for Trump's proposed border wall and immigration enforcement plans,
according to The Washington Post.
"President Trump's incompetence would be laughable, except it's dangerous,"
said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a statement. "Every
expert says the wall will do nothing to make us more secure, but the potential
cuts at our nation's ports would be dangerous."
A draft proposal would slash the TSA's budget by 11 percent, to $4.5 billion,
while cutting the Coast Guard's budget by 14 percent, to about $7.8 billion.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would also see an 11 percent
cut, to about $3.6 billion.
Appropriators proposed a funding boost for the TSA in their fiscal 2017
spending bills, in part because of the massive security lines that started
forming at airports around the country last spring. Lawmakers had to allow the
agency to shift around funding in its current budget to help the TSA deal with
the crisis and hire new screening officers.
Schumer also pointed out that the Senate led an effort last summer to beef up
airport security in the wake of a deadly bombing at a Brussels airport.
Language was attached to an aviation reauthorization bill to increase the
number of bomb-sniffing dogs at transit hubs and expand pre-check programs.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), ranking member on the House Homeland Security
Committee, accused Trump of placing a greater priority on keeping his campaign
promises than keeping America safe.
"The campaign is over and the Trump Administration must show us that it is
serious about governing and can preserve the investments we have made keeping
the country secure since 9/11," Thompson said.
"Slashing the already tight budgets of the Coast Guard, FEMA, and TSA will only
reduce our readiness and effectiveness in preventing potential attacks and
responding to disasters."
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