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Border wall’s gain is other DHS components’ pain in Trump budget

March 16, 2017 (Photo Credit: Eilis Maynard/FEMA)
While on paper the Department of Homeland Security is getting a 6.8 percent increase in funding in 2018, don’t expect all its components to get a bump.

The "America First" budget outlines increases for the department for border and immigration enforcement, including “$2.6 billion in high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology” to help build President Trump’s much-discussed border wall.

But since the budget doesn’t increase federal spending, cost offsets have come from the budgets of other DHS components, notably the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The budget details the elimination of several TSA programs to the tune of $80 million, including federal grants to state and local law enforcement for airport patrols and cuts to the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response program, which was initially created for non-aviation transportation protection, but have since expanded to large event security.

The budget also restructures the passenger security fee to shift 75 percent of TSA aviation security costs to the consumer market.

At FEMA, the budget slices $667 million in cuts to state and local grants, like the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, which the Office of Management and Budget said doesn’t have congressional authority.

The budget proposes shifting funds for these grants to state and local governments with a 25 percent non-federal cost match, which FEMA uses for its disaster recovery grants as a cost-sharing model.

The Trump administration also submitted a supplemental 2017 budget request on March 16, asking Congress to approve an additional $3 billion for border and immigration security, of which an estimated $1.5 billion will go toward the border wall project.
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