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Border security

Obama's budget would scale back border security projects

'Virtual' fence construction, Border Patrol would see reductions in spending

President Obama's plans to scale back some border security plans enacted after 9/11 are drawing fire.

Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano said the nation's safety would not be jeopardized under the budget for fiscal year 2011.

"Our proposed budget is designed to ensure we have the resources we need to secure America. We are committed to strong fiscal discipline, eliminating redundancy and investing our resources in what works while enhancing security across the board."

But the $56.3 billion Homeland Security budget is not high enough, USA Today reports.

Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., the top Republican on the House panel overseeing the Department of Homeland Security's budget, says the border security funding in President Obama's budget for fiscal year 2011 is "woefully inadequate" and "as dangerous as it is indefensible."

Obama's cuts would include:

• A reduction of 180 Border Patrol agents through attrition, not layoffs.

• $225 million would be cut from the $800 million "virtual fence" project, consisting of poles, cameras and sensors along the border.

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• No additions would be made to the existing 643 miles of concrete-and-steel border fence.

• Five of the Coast Guard's 13 Maritime Security and Safety Teams, created to protect waterfront cities, would be eliminated. Obama is proposing cuts in New York City, San Francisco, Anchorage and King's Bay, Ga.

U.S. Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ), ranking member of the House Coast Guard & Maritime Security Subcommittee, criticized cuts to port security in a press release.

“If not for the critical importance of securing our ports and protecting our nation, these proposed cuts would be laughable. To severely undercut the Coast Guard’s capabilities to patrol and protect the nation’s ports and maritime transportation system would give terrorists an opportunity to exploit this weakness.”

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1 comment on this story

Feb 5, 2010, 7:15 am
-0 +1

Rogers and LoBiondo are both Republicans; of course they’ll be critical.  Plus congressional committees are not necessarily headed up by the best people, as we found out with the finance committee during the Senate healthcare debate. 

It’s too bad congress is polarized, but that’s how it is now. I would tend to trust Napolitano in any case.  A savvy lady, she lives in AZ, not KY or NJ, and better knows what’s up at the border.

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On the Web

USA Today: Obama's budget curbs border programs

Huntington News Network: President cuts border security in proposed budget