March 13, 2017 — WASHINGTON — Alaska’s Republican senators won’t support proposed major budget cuts for the U.S. Coast Guard, they told the White House Office of Management and Budget in a letter following reports of major cuts in President Donald Trump’s draft budget.
Several national outlets have reported on a draft White House budget request to Congress that includes $1.3 billion cut from the Coast Guard’s $9.1 billion budget. The Coast Guard cut is reportedly aimed at helping pay for a wall on the southern border shared with Mexico.
Alaska Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker were the only three Republicans among 23 senators to sign the letter. The rest were Democrats.
Cutting into the Coast Guard budget could mean a far lower chance of bolstering the dwindling U.S. fleet of icebreakers, at a time when shipping traffic is increasing in the Arctic. Senators warned this is not the time to “kick the can down the road” on the Coast Guard’s aging fleet.
“We strongly urge you to refrain from any such cuts. The Coast Guard budget has suffered a steady decline since 2010, which resulted in negative impacts to Coast Guard missions, infrastructure, delays in necessary recapitalization efforts, and has generally constrained Coast Guard operations,” the senators wrote in a letter to OMB Director John Mulvaney.