AFGE leader warns Trump budget cuts at TSA, FEMA, Coast Guard endanger public safety

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 American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) said.

The Trump administration is proposing double digit percentage budget cuts at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard´s budget would be cut by 14%, or USD 1.3bn, largely by cancelling or delaying new equipment purchases. FEMA´s budget would be cut by 11%, or USD 370m, 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%.

TSA´s budget would be cut by 11%, or USD 500m. This includes a USD 65m cut in behavioral detection officers, who monitor airports for suspicious behavior, and a USD 55m cut in local law enforcement grants to airports, which help fund a local police presence in and around US 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 USD 1 to USD 6.60 for each one-way flight, which would generate USD 470m in additional revenue for DHS.

Homeland Security´s budget overall would increase 65 to USD 43.8bn in fiscal 2018, with most of the increase dedicated to the administration´s planned crackdown on illegal immigration.

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.