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Tag: Budget

Secret Service Faces Serious Challenges to Meet Demands of Trump Family

secret serviceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service has been forced to make cost-cutting concessions because of the increasing demands and rising costs of protecting the new first family.

The strain of the demands has resulted in the Secret Service pulling dozens of agents from criminal investigations to serve two-week stints to protect members of the Trump family, the New York Times reports. 

One of the extra burdens is protecting the first lady and youngest son in Manhattan’s Trump Tower. The family’s travel habits also have required agents to work more overtime hours and spend more time away from home. In addition, the Secret Service is protecting Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

“They are flat-out worn out,” said Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“It’s like being on a bike that you never get off of,” said the committee’s top-ranking Democratic member, Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

Will a New FBI Headquarters Ever Be Built? Congress Faces Spending Deadline

Current FBI headquarters

Current FBI headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If you’re wondering whether the FBI’s new headquarters will ever be built, you could be forgiven.

For years, federal officials have been planning to build a new headquarters in Maryland or Virginia. But every year passes without funding.

Now Congress is scrambling to secure more than a billion dollars by next month to proceed with the project, the Baltimore Sun reports. 

“A vague, three-sentence statement released this month by the agency overseeing the $2 billion development — as well as silence from President Donald Trump, a former real estate developer — has shifted the discussion from whether the headquarters will be built in Maryland or Virginia to whether its progress will be delayed indefinitely,” the Baltimore Sun wrote.

To keep the project going, Congress must secure $1.4 billion for the building by April 28, when current spending authority expires.

FBI One of Few Agencies to Benefit from Trump’s Proposed Budget

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is one of the few federal agencies that could benefit from President Trump’s proposed budget.

Under the budget proposal, Trump’s administration recommends a $61 million increase for the FBI and Justice Department to improve tracking terrorist communications and combat cybercriminals, FedScoop reports.

“The FBI would devote resources toward its world-class cadre of special agents and intelligence analysts, as well as invest $61 million more to fight terrorism and combat foreign intelligence and cyber threats and address public safety and national security risks that result from malicious actors’ use of encrypted products and services,” the budget blueprint states.

Trump’s proposed budget would increase the FBI’s overall funding by $249 million, or 3%.

Sen. Schumer: Trump’s Plans to Cut TSA Budget by 11% Is Dangerous

airport scanner 2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s plans to cut 11% from the TSA’s budget would “spell real trouble for security,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday.

The cuts are meant to free up money to increase funding for immigration enforcement programs and the construction of a wall along the Mexico border.

Schumer, D-N.Y., called the cuts a “cash raid for the borer wall,” Newsday reports. 

“You’re not going to quietly pillage the federal funds that protect New York on my watch,” said Schumer, who serves as the Senate Minority Leader, directing his message at the White House.

Under Trump’s plans, the Coast Guard also would be cut by 14%.

The TSA cuts would eliminate a $20 million program to train flight crew members in firearms training in the event of a hijacking. The plan also calls for cutting $45 million in grants for local law enforcement to increase patrols in and around airports.

Other Stories of Interest

Trump Proposes Cuts to TSA, Secret Service, FEMA to Pay for Border Wall

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump wants to free up money for his border wall by mulling cuts to the Coast Guard, TSA, Secret Service and FEMA.

The budget reductions would cut deeply into notable national security and emergency response initiatives, ABC News reports. 

Under the proposal, the administration would cut $1.3 billion from the Coast Guard’s budget, which is a 14% reduction over last year.

TSA stands to lose more than $500 million, and FEMA would be cut by $370 million.

But whether Trump can get Congress to approve the reductions is an entirely different story. Republicans and Democrats questioned the wisdom of the budget cuts.

“The White House needs to go back to drawing board with its budget and produce something to Congress that is workable, realistic, and, most importantly, keeps our country safe,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee.

Other Stories of Interest

President Trump’s Hiring Freeze Worries FBI, DOJ, Homeland Security

money-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump’s call for a hiring freeze has caused alarm in federal agencies like the FBI, Justice Department and Homeland Security.

During Trump’s announcement Monday, he said the military won’t be impacted by the hiring freeze that began Monday, the Sacramento Bee reports. 

Members of Congress want more information about the impact of the hiring freeze, which could mean far fewer FBI agents and Justice Department attorneys.

“This is a very complex government and you want to be really careful with your edicts because chances are they’re going to come back and bite you if you’re not careful,” said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove.

“We’re going to stop hiring. Really? What about TSA? What about the Border Patrol? What about the guy doing cybersecurity for the Justice Department?” he asked.

Republican Rep. Tom McClintock supports the order but cautioned against blanket hiring freeze.

“I applaud President Trump’s determination to pare back the federal government,” McClintock wrote in a statement to The Sacramento Bee. “The plan’s success, though, rests in redesigning the service delivery systems, eliminating unnecessary agencies and reforming the direct spending programs. Otherwise, you run the risk of shorting manpower in your top priority functions while continuing over-staffing of low priority or unnecessary agencies.”

Republican Congressman Introduces Bill to Eliminate the ATF

ATF LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If Wisconsin Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner gets his way, the ATF will be dissolved and its responsibilities dished out to other federal agencies.

Sensenbrenner introduce the ATF Elimination Act, which would hand over alcohol and tobacco cases to the DEA, while the FBI would handle firearms, explosives and arsons, the Daily Caller reports. 

“Common sense budgeting solutions are necessary, and the ATF Elimination Act is one measure we can take to reduce spending, redundancy, and practice responsible governance,” said Sensenbrenner. “The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that has been branded by failure and lacks a clear mission. It is plagued by backlogs, funding gaps, hiring challenges, and a lack of leadership.”

Sensenbrenner maintains that eliminating the ATF would help “bring draining the swamp” and be in the “best interest” of taxpayers.

The Daily Caller wrote:

The bill would require the DEA and FBI to provide congress a plan for incorporating the ATF’s responsibilities, field offices, buildings and assets.

In addition to cutting the ATF, the bill would place a hiring freeze on the ATF and would require the Department of Justice, the ATF’s parent agency, to “eliminate and reduce duplicative functions and waste.”

Trump, an Early Critic of Intelligence Agencies, Plans to Restructure the CIA

CIA headquarters

CIA headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President-elect Donald Trump, who has mocked U.S. intelligence agencies, plans to restructure the CIA and reduce staffing at its Virginia headquarters by moving more people into field posts worldwide. 

Sources familiar with the planning told the Wall Street Journal that Trump believes the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has become politicized and bloated. 

“The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world has become completely politicized,” said the individual, who is close to the Trump transition. “They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how they interact.”

Trump has criticized the CIA and other intelligence agencies for what he says are misrepresentations of Russia trying to influence the presidential election.

His criticism of those agencies has drawn fire from both sides of the aisle.