WASHINGTON - The Democratic staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today issued a report detailing that cuts proposed in the Administration’s FY18 budget to a variety of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) counterterrorism programs could threaten efforts to combat terrorism. The proposed cuts come in the wake of attacks in multiple countries on ‘soft’ targets such as concert venues and mass transit. These cuts are especially concerning given they come with a funding request for $1.6 billion to construct 74 miles of physical barrier along the Southwest border at a cost of approximately $21.6 million per mile.
Click HERE to read the minority staff report, Fighting Terror: Administration’s Budget Slashes Counterterrorism Programs as Attacks Continue to Increase Abroad
The report’s key findings include:
- Although DHS has informed the American people that “the United States is engaged in a generational fight against terrorists,” the Administration’s budget proposal for FY 2018 will cut $582.8 million from critical counterterrorism programs that DHS administers.
- If the Administration’s budget proposal is adopted, critical counterterrorism grant programs like the Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program, the Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks Grant Programs, and the Law Enforcement Officer Reimbursement Program will be eliminated.
- Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams will be reduced by 74 percent.
- While the Administration’s budget calls for deep reductions to critical counterterrorism programs throughout DHS, nearly $1.6 billion of the Administration’s budget proposal will be used to construct 74 miles of physical barrier along the Southwest border at a cost of approximately $21.6 million per mile. No metrics have been developed or cost-benefit analyses conducted to systematically measure the contributions of a new border barrier to border security.
“The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for advancing critical federal efforts to prevent and mitigate terror threats in the United States,” states the report. “Budgetary cuts of this magnitude to a variety of important counterterrorism efforts will have significant negative impacts.”
The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Democratic staff report, led by the staff of U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, is available online HERE.