MIAMI (CBSMiami) — In his campaign, and since taking office, President Trump has vowed to build a wall along the Mexican border, insisting that Mexico would pay for it.
But what’s Mexican about the U.S. Coast Guard?
The Washington Post has obtained a draft White House budget that would cut the Coast Guard’s funding by 14 percent to help pay for the wall. And there’s more.
The draft cuts TSA funding by 11 percent. And FEMA, the people who help after calamities like hurricanes, would get whacked 11 percent. The draft budget also proposes raising federal flood insurance premiums.
It has some folks wondering, what?
“It’s irresponsible. It’s not leadership. It’s trying to fulfill a campaign promise,” said Lori Glassberg, outside a grocery store in Pinecrest. “You have to stop campaigning at some point and lead this country.”
The Coast Guard does what the wall would purport to, routinely intercepting unlawful migrants, and it also nabs drug-runners, making big cocaine and marijuana seizures. The TSA keeps bombs off airplanes and FEMA feeds and houses people when disaster strikes.
“We need protection, we need the Coast Guard, we need the works. I think he’s got to find another solution,” said Miami-Dade taxpayer Sandra Kaplan.
South Florida political leaders, too, wonder what the White House is thinking.
“Obviously it’s a concern. We’re a coastal city that depends on the federal government for those services,” said Miami City Commissioner Francis Suarez.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez called the reported cuts worrisome.
“Cutting back the Coast Guard, I mean, they’re an integral part of the security of our nation, especially here in South Florida,” Gimenez said. “I would be looking at other sources of funds to build a wall.”
The president’s draft budget, the Post reports, would also raise premiums for federal flood insurance. It would affect hundreds of thousands of South Florida homeowners and the insurance, mandatory in some areas, is already expensive.
“I pay about $800 a year,” said Jack Patterson at a shopping center on South Dixie Highway. Patterson said he and his neighbors wouldn’t want to pay more for insurance to help finance what he believes is a bad idea.
“It’s a big mistake. I think the wall is going to cost a lot of money and it’s not going to work,” Patterson said.
Some Republican members of Congress are already pushing back against what they see as dangerous cuts to security and an unnecessary burden on homeowners.
Michael Short, a Whitehouse spokesman, told the Post that the budget process is in its early stages and things could change. To draw any firm conclusions at this point, Short said, would be “premature.”
The president’s draft budget goes to Capitol Hill next week.