Courtney Opposes Cutting Coast Guard Funding to Pay for Operations on the Southern Border
(Washington, DC) —Friday, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces and co-chair of the Congressional Coast Guard Caucus, joined 15 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Homeland Security expressing opposition to any funding cuts to the U.S. Coast Guard budget in order to offset increased funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations along the southern border.
“As we said in the letter, the border is only secure as its weakest link and if we neglect our 12,000-mile maritime border it will have lasting implications for our national security,” said Courtney. “Whether you agree or disagree with spending more money along the southern border, it makes no sense to cut vital funding for the U.S. Coast Guard. In 2017 alone, the Coast Guard seized more than 223 metric tons of cocaine and interdicted 31 vessels fishing illegally in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. We should be doing everything we can to get the men and women of the Coast Guard the funding they need to do their jobs, not nickel and diming them to fulfill the president’s campaign promises.”
In the letter signed by 15 bipartisan members of the House, the members wrote, “The Coast Guard’s maritime security activities represent just part of its 11 statutory missions. Past years have clearly demonstrated the Coast Guard’s unique capabilities for hurricane response and search and rescue activities, among other missions. Any effort to reduce the Coast Guard’s funding and threaten its capability to carry out any of its critical missions would be unacceptable.”
A recent report in the Washington Post recently noted that the Trump administration is considering moving $77 million from the U.S. Coast Guard’s budget to support Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations.
The full letter is below and available online
July 20, 2018
The Honorable Mick Mulvaney
Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20503
The Honorable Kirstjen Nielsen
Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue NW
Washington, DC 2001
Dear Director Mulvaney and Secretary Nielsen,
A Washington Post report recently revealed that the Trump administration may shift $77 million from the U.S. Coast Guard’s budget to support Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations. As co-chairs and members of the Coast Guard Caucus, we have significant concerns with this proposed transfer of funds, and believe it would adversely impact the Coast Guard’s ability to carry out their responsibilities.
Our border is only as secure as its weakest link, and efforts to strengthen and secure our land border will be undermined by actions that make our 12,000-mile maritime border more permeable. The Coast Guard is the most effective resource we have to mitigate the threats of smugglers and illicit cargo coming to the United States by sea. The results speak for themselves—in 2017, the Coast Guard interdicted 223 metric tons of cocaine and detained 708 suspected smugglers for prosecution in the maritime domain. Siphoning off the Coast Guard’s resources makes no sense considering the important role that the Coast Guard plays in protecting our maritime border.
The Coast Guard’s maritime security activities represent just part of the its 11 statutory missions. Past years have clearly demonstrated the Coast Guard’s unique capabilities for hurricane response and search and rescue activities, among other missions. Any effort to reduce the Coast Guard’s funding and threaten its capability to carry out any of its critical missions would be unacceptable.
Finally, despite being one of five armed services, the Coast Guard was the only service to suffer the full impact of spending cuts imposed under the Budget Control Act. As the Coast Guard is working to recapitalize its fleet and put a much-needed funding increase to good use, now is not the time to take a step backwards. We urge you to reject efforts to shift funds from the Coast Guard to ICE, and recognize that the Coast Guard plays a vital role in protecting our national security and guarding our coasts.
REP. JOE COURTNEY
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI
REP. FRANK A. LOBIONDO
REP. RICK LARSEN
REP. DON YOUNG
REP. BILL PASCRELL, JR.
REP. JUAN VARGAS
REP. JOHN RUTHERFORD
REP. JENNIFFER GONZALEZ-COLON
REP. JULIA BROWNLEY
REP. MARCY KAPTUR
REP. FILEMON VELA
REP. COLLEEN HANABUSA
REP. NANETTE DIAZ BARRAGÁN