Congress Defends Coast Guard

Maggie Wall/KMXT

Congress didn’t take lightly a proposed $1 billion budget cut for the guard which was unveiled last week. And while any budget figures this early in the process are likely to see many changes along the way, signers to a letter supporting the Coast Guard didn’t waste time in making sure budget writers know just how important the guard is to the country.

More than 50 members of the U.S. Congress signed the letter dated march 13. The letter states that proposed cuts to the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security, are “cause for a serious alarm.”

The letter went on to note, “The U.S. Coast Guard is a branch of the U.S. military—a fact that appears to have been discounted by OMB.”

The letter writers state that their concern with the Ofice of Management and Budget’s financial outline is that it “severely discounts the value and effectiveness of the U.S. Coast Guard in drug interdiction and maritime security, and it’s standing in the armed service.”

House members further wrote, “there appears to be a bias against the Coast Guard by career bureaucrats that threatens to undermine the Coast Guard mission, and whether intended or not, to degrade its ability to effectively conduct its mission.”

Additionally, its counter-narcotics mission has a direct impact on border security and law enforcement. In fact, says the letter, the Coast Guard interdicts more cocaine at sea than what is interdicted at ports of entry and among all others elements of domestic law enforcement combined.

Based on that alone, the letter says the Coast Guard’s budget “should see a sizable increase to meet the president’s goal of eliminating the flood of illegal drugs.”

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