March 08, 2017

Senator Hassan Presses DHS Deputy Secretary Nominee on Impact of Proposed Cuts to TSA, Coast Guard on National Security and Drug Interdiction Efforts

Senator Hassan Presses DHS Deputy Secretary Nominee on Impact of Proposed Cuts to TSA, Coast Guard on National Security and Drug Interdiction Efforts

Senator Also Highlights Need to Pass Bipartisan STOP Act to Curb Importation of Deadly Fentanyl


Senator Hassan questioning during the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee hearing.

WASHINGTON - Today, in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee (HSGAC) hearing on Elaine Duke's nomination for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary, Senator Maggie Hassan pressed Ms. Duke on reports that the Trump Administration is considering deep cuts to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Coast Guard in order to pay for the President's border wall, and on the impact that such cuts would have on national security and drug interdiction efforts.

Senator Hassan highlighted the pressing threats to our aviation system from ISIS and Al-Qaeda and expressed that the Administration's suggestion to "cut a billion dollars from aviation security is very, very concerning." When the Senator asked Ms. Duke whether she supports dramatically cutting aviation security to pay for the President's border wall, Ms. Duke responded that she would "look at the budget very carefully if confirmed."

On potential cuts to the Coast Guard to pay for the border wall, Senator Hassan said, "Again, this is a cut being suggested by OMB in order to pay for the president's wall. I'm having a hard time understanding the logic of a move like this. If we build a wall along the southern border, and gut the Coast Guard in the process - what we've seen from these drug cartels is that they're creative - and I think that just incentivizes the cartels to smuggle more drugs across our maritime boundaries."

The Senator added, "So I'm really looking for you to be able to outline steps to ensure that DHS employs a comprehensive approach to battling narcotics trafficking, stopping the opioid epidemic, and don't just focus - you know, the southern border security is incredibly important - but we have to be smart about this and we have to use what you call this threat based assessment process. And I'm really concerned that from what I'm hearing and reading, the administration is not following that path."

Senator Hassan also highlighted the need to pass the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, a bipartisan bill she joined Senator Portman in introducing to curb the importation of deadly fentanyl.

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