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Federal workers' union: Trump budget proposal threatens public safety
WASHINGTON March 7, 2017 Budget cuts being proposed by the Trump administration will make America less secure and endanger the lives of the public and our public servants, the head of the largest federal employee union said today.
"These budget cuts will make a difficult job even harder for the women and men who protect our skies, patrol our waters, and help us prepare for and respond to emergencies," American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said.
"President Trump promised to 'make American safe again,' but the drastic budget cuts he's proposing will do just the opposite," Cox said. "You don't improve security by slashing budgets for programs that prevent terrorists from hijacking airplanes, keep illegal narcotics off our streets, and counter violent extremists in our neighborhoods."
The Trump administration is proposing double digit percentage budget cuts at the Transportation Security Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Coast Guard, according to Politico.
The Coast Guard's budget would be cut by 14 percent, or $1.3 billion, largely by cancelling or delaying new equipment purchases. FEMA's budget would be cut by 11 percent, or $370 million, by slashing funding for a program to counter violent extremism and prepare for a wide-scale terrorist attack, as well as cutting grants for port transit security by 40 percent.
TSA's budget would be cut by 11 percent, or $500 million. This includes a $65 million cut in behavioral detection officers, who monitor airports for suspicious behavior, and a $55 million cut in local law enforcement grants to airports, which help fund a local police presence in and around our airports.
The Trump administration is proposing to slash TSA's operating budget even as it forces the public to pay more for air travel. The security ticket fee charged by airline passengers would increase by $1 to $6.60 for each one-way flight, which would generate $470 million in additional revenue for DHS.
Homeland Security's budget overall would increase 6 percent to $43.8 billion in fiscal 2018, with most of the increase dedicated to the administration's planned crackdown on illegal immigration.
"Diverting money from airport security, emergency preparedness, and illegal drug interdiction to fund other aspects of homeland security will leave us less secure, not more," Cox said.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.