McAuliffe: Trump cutting Coast Guard budget to fund border wall ‘foolish’

McAuliffe: Trump cutting Coast Guard budget to fund border wall ‘foolish’
© Greg Nash

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) says President Trump would be “foolish” to cut the Coast Guard’s budget to help fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Slashing the Coast Guard budget in order to pay for a needless and impractical border wall will make our nation less safe and kill jobs in states like Virginia,” McAuliffe said in a statement Friday.

“This proposal is not about making our nation safer, it’s about keeping a misguided campaign promise,” added McAuliffe, a close ally and backer of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain MORE.

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“On behalf of the people of Virginia, I urge President Trump to scrap this foolish proposal and get behind the men and women who are already doing the hard work of keeping our country safe.”

The Trump administration is reportedly weighing a 14 percent cut to the Coast Guard’s budget, shrinking it from $9.1 billion in 2017 to $7.8 billion, according to a draft proposal reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The plan would also purportedly slice 11 percent apiece from the budgets of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The draft budget from the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would shift the money toward paying for Trump’s proposed border wall and immigration enforcement plans.

The draft would reportedly increase the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget by 6.4 percent to $43.8 billion. Of that total, a reported $2.9 billion would fund the wall, while another $1.9 billion would supply “immigration detention beds” and other Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expenses, with $285 million going toward hiring Border Patrol and ICE agents.

McAuliffe argued the Coast Guard provides a better safeguard for the U.S. than Trump’s proposed wall along the nation’s southern border.

“Last year the Coast Guard was responsible for 6,100 interdictions of individuals who could have potentially violated U.S. law and threatened the safety of our communities,” the Democratic governor said.

“In other words, the men and women of the Coast Guard are already doing the job of keeping our borders secure, [and] hamstringing those efforts would be reckless under any scenario."