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Storm over coast guard cut proposals


Plans to slash US Coast Guard funding by $1.3 billion have inspired 60 politicians to sign a letter in protest.

“Our recommendation is that OMB’s financial outline, specific to the Coast Guard, be rejected on the ground that, if implemented, it would serve to the detriment of US national security and create exposures that will most certainly be exploited by transnational criminal networks and other dangerous actors,” they wrote in a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee.

The letter, spearheaded by Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Ranking Member John Garamendi (D-CA), was co-authored by 60 lawmakers in the US House.

“The concern with OMB’s financial outline is that it severely discounts the value and effectiveness of the US Coast Guard in drug interdiction and maritime security, and its standing as an Armed Service,” House lawmakers said. “The US Coast Guard is an Armed Force at all times, operating both overseas and domestically to ensure America’s national security. They are facing similar readiness challenges as their Department of Defense counterparts, and must be included in the Administration’s efforts to rebuild the Armed Forces.”

Alaska Senator Don Young, former Chairman of the House Transportation Committee and senior member of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, has consistently worked to support and strengthen the Coast Guard’s mission, including measures to improve readiness, develop infrastructure and update and acquire new maritime assets. He believes reductions to the Coast Guard’s budget would significantly undermine its mission of protecting US waterways and coastlines, while further eroding America’s national security interests across the globe.

“It’s nonsensical to pursue a policy of rebuilding the Armed Forces while proposing large reductions to the US Coast Guard budget” they wrote. “Without question, the OMB’s proposed cut targeting the Coast Guard directly contradicts the President’s stated goals and should be dismissed. The US Coast Guard has, for years, operated under the realities of severe budget limitations. Preserving and strengthening America’s security interests and protecting American jobs demand a fully funded US Coast Guard.”