As the slow disaster of Harvey continues to roll over southeast Texas and into Louisiana, bringing record-shattering rainfall over the region, the Republican Congress is pondering $1 billion in cuts to federal disaster response programs to fulfill Donald Trump’s demands for a border wall.
The pending reduction to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief account is part of a spending bill that the House is scheduled to consider next week when Congress returns from its August recess. The $876 million cut, part of the 1,305-page measure’s homeland security section, pays for roughly half the cost of Trump’s down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
It seems sure that GOP leaders will move to reverse the disaster aid cut next week. The optics are politically bad and there’s only $2.3 billion remaining in disaster coffers.
One would like to think that they’d reverse those cuts. But don’t forget the request they’re working with from the White House.
The proposal, drawn up by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), also would slash the budget of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides disaster relief after hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. The Coast Guard’s $9.1 billion budget in 2017 would be cut 14 percent to about $7.8 billion, while the TSA and FEMA budgets would be reduced about 11 percent each to $4.5 billion and $3.6 billion, respectively.
All so Trump can hire more border agents, build his wall, and more effectively terrorize people of color. Given the disproportionate hit people of color are taking from this natural disaster, don’t bet on Trump changing his mind about pushing for these cuts.