03.12.17

SCHUMER: WITH PROPOSAL TO BUILD EXPENSIVE WALL, TRUMP ADMIN SLASHES PROGRAMS THAT VITALLY IMPACT NY SAFETY & SECURITY; SLASHES TSA, CUTS DOG TEAMS & GREATLY HAMPERS COAST GUARD PROTECTING NY HARBOR & LI SOUND; HUGE FUNDING SLASH WOULD MAKE AMERICA LESS SAFE & LESS SECURE; SENATOR VOWS TO PROTECT FUNDING

Incoming Trump Admin Budget Threatens To Slash Already Tight TSA Budget & Coast Guard By All Told More Than $1 Billion Dollars, Schumer Highlights Security Necessities NYC Would Lose Amidst Cuts; Pushes Back

Traveling Public’s Safety, Airport Security & Guarding Of NYC/LI Waters Would All Suffer; Senator Makes Case To Protect NY From Trump Admin Cash Raid For Border Wall

Schumer: Slashing Funds That Keep NYC Airports & Waters Safe Will Not Fly

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today sounded the alarm and expressed serious concerns with the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)—cuts Schumer says would put New York and Long Island security at risk.

“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,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. ”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.”

Schumer continued, "Making cuts to canine detection teams that help screen passengers and Coast Guard response teams that help in the event of an attack near or on the water would make America less safe and secure. Simply put, this administration’s 'safety last' plan will not fly, and I will do everything I can to protect New York from the administration’s cash raid for the border wall.”

According to a budget proposal and 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 says, 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."

Schumer said as a top terror target and popular traveling destination, these cuts could impact New York the most. Schumer also noted that the budget severely cuts back on canine detection teams, which offer a unique and effective way for the TSA to accurately and efficiently screen passengers.

Schumer continued, “The border wall is impractical and unpopular, a pointless burden that this administration is trying to pay for by taking money away from the programs that actually keep Americans safe.”‎

New York City is home to some of the busiest airports in the country. According to the Port Authority, 126 million air travelers utilize its airports each year. According to reports, the proposed budget cuts the TSA by 11 percent 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 (VIPR) teams, which augment the security of any mode of transportation at any location within the United States using an asset of DHS 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.

Schumer has always supported the TSA’s use of canine screening teams and last year, after his push, the TSA increased the number of highly trained Passenger Screening Canine Teams at New York City airports. Canine teams have been useful in the past. For instance, Schumer pointed to an incident on February 20th when eleven people walked through an unattended TSA checkpoint at JFK Airport. According to reports, eight of the passengers were screened by a canine prior to boarding.

According to reports, the proposed budget cuts the USCG by 14 percent to 7.8 billion. The following 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.

 

  • Cancelling a contract with Huntington Ingalls Industries to build a National Security Cutter, at a savings of nearly $500 million.

In New York City, the USCG is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the Port of New York and New Jersey, the largest operating field command in all of the United States. They conduct Port and Waterways Coastal Security, Search and Rescue, and Boating Safety missions. In November, the USCG helped rescue 100 people off a ferry in NY Harbor; and in March, the USCG helped respond to a plane crash in the Hudson.

Schumer, today, said cutting these programs that collectively act as the bricks in the firewall that is national security would be bad for America, but especially disastrous for New York.

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