Photo Courtesy of Sen. Schumer’s Office
Schumer said the Trump administration’s proposed cuts “hamstring New York airport security and compromise the safety of our waterways.”
By Forum Staff
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer on Sunday expressed serious concerns with the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard—cuts Schumer said would put New York and Long Island security at risk.
According to a budget proposal and published reports, the White House is seeking a 14-percent cut to the USCG budget and an 11-percent cut to the TSA budget in an effort to pay for the proposed Mexico border wall. A border wall that, Schumer said, is ineffective, would not increase safety and is profoundly expensive, and that President Trump has promised again and again would be, “paid for by Mexico.”
Additionally, according to Schumer, the proposed budget severely cuts back on canine detection teams, which offer a unique and effective way for the TSA to accurately and efficiently screen passengers.
“New York is terror target number one and that’s why cuts that hamstring New York airport security and compromise the safety of our waterways must be vociferously defended – before the damage is done,” Schumer said. ”In an age of terror threats and lone wolves, the Trump administration’s budget cuts to the TSA and USCG would spell real trouble for security here in New York City. We know from recent attacks at airport baggage areas how real the threat TSA faces is, and they need MORE support to keep us safe, not less – especially when the plan is to divert the money for a border wall we don’t need, and that won’t keep us any safer from would be terrorists.”
According to Schumer and published reports, the proposed budget cuts the TSA to $4.5 billion. Specifically, four TSA programs would see cuts:
Federal Flight Deck Officer Program, which authorizes flight crew members to use firearms to defend against an act of criminal violence and air piracy while attempting to gain control of an aircraft. The proposed budget intends to eliminate this program at a savings of $20 million.
Visible Intermodal Prevent and Response teams, which augment the security of any mode of transportation at any location within the United States using an asset of the Department of Homeland Security including canine detection teams. VIPR teams may approach people and ask questions, examine bags, search vehicles, conduct searches, and patrol the airport to detect suspicious activity. The proposed budget would eliminate this program at a savings of $57 million.
Grants that local law enforcement uses to patrol in and around airports would be eliminated, saving $45 million.
Behavior Detection Program, which utilizes non-invasive behavior detection techniques based on scientifically validated behaviors to identify individuals who pose a threat to the nation’s transportation. The proposed budget would eliminate this program at a savings of $65 million.
And the proposed budget cuts the Coast Guard to $7.8 billion. The following would see cuts:
The Maritime Security Response Team is a tactical unit trained to be a first responder to potential terrorist situations. The proposed budget intends to eliminate this program, according to Schumer and published reports.
Cancelling a contract with Huntington Ingalls Industries to build a National Security Cutter, at a savings of nearly $500 million.