Proposed House Republican Cuts Endanger Public Safety

March 20, 2023
Press Release

Based on information the House Appropriations Committee received from agency leaders in the Biden Administration, House Republicans’ reported proposal to cut fiscal year 2024 discretionary spending back to the fiscal year 2022 enacted level—resulting in a cut of at least 22 percent for essential programs—would endanger public safety:

“Those that seek to cut essential programs would cause irreparable damage to our communities by gutting the programs every single American relies on—including the ones that keep communities safe. Continued Republican calls for cuts of this magnitude—both secret proposals from Republican leadership and public demands from extremists in the party—would defund the police by eliminating local law enforcement positions and slashing crime prevention and justice grants to local and state governments. It would make our border less secure and make train and air travel more dangerous at a time when train derailments are wreaking havoc on communities across the country. These proposals are unrealistic, unsustainable, and unconscionable,” Appropriations Committee Ranking Member DeLauro said.

“If the Republican plan to cut FY24 federal spending to FY22 levels applies to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we would witness increased drug trafficking, criminal activity, cybersecurity threats, wait times at airports and other ports of entry, and reduced funding to help our communities prepare for disasters. Ultimately, cuts in funding will force DHS agencies like U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Secret Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard to stop hiring personnel and abandon critical initiatives that ensure our domestic security,” said Homeland Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Henry Cuellar. “As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, I will continue to fight for robust funding for DHS. Our families, our economy, and our nation are depending on it.”

“Americans are calling for increased rail safety inspections and more air traffic controllers to keep our skies and rail lines safe. Republican cuts will do the opposite. All of this is on top of putting hundreds of thousands of American families out on the street by cutting funding to housing. We need a federal budget that will prioritize enhanced safety and security for the American people. The Republican proposal is out of step with the needs of Americans,” said Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Quigley.

“Last year, as Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice, I included strong funding increases for more local police officers as well as more Federal law enforcement and prosecutors,” said Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Ranking Member Matt Cartwright. “However, the extreme budget cuts proposed this year by the Freedom Caucus would greatly damage these critical public safety and crime-fighting efforts. In addition to forcing the loss of hundreds of local police officers, such cuts would eliminate thousands of Federal prosecutors and FBI agents and analysts working to combat everything from gun violence to organized crime to domestic and international terrorism. The proposal would also gut efforts to address the opioid crisis, combat violence against women, and prevent juvenile delinquency. I will work tirelessly this year to help prevent such a damaging proposal from becoming law. We cannot reverse the progress we have made.”

The math is not there. These drastic proposed cuts would:

Make our border less safe.

  • Over 45,800 aircraft hours and 11,400 boat hours executed by Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations could be cut, a 56 percent reduction in operational capability, and our ability to secure the border and combat drug trafficking would be undermined, allowing into our country more than 154,000 pounds of cocaine, 850 pounds of fentanyl, 1,900 pounds of heroin, and 17,000 pounds of methamphetamine.

Defund the police and make communities less safe.

  • The House Republican proposal would cut federal support to 60 local law enforcement agencies, fund 300 to 400 fewer local law enforcement positions, decrease FBI personnel by approximately 11,000 people, and freeze hiring at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That will mean 190 agents, 130 Industry Operations Investigators, and 180 technical and support staff would be lost to attrition, and ATF’s entire workforce of over 5,000 personnel would have to take 36 furlough days.

Jeopardize rail and air safety.

  • Following the catastrophic derailments in eastern Ohio and West Virginia, rail safety jobs would be dramatically reduced, with 11,000 fewer safety inspection days, and 30,000 fewer miles of track inspected annually.
  • Despite projected passenger volume increases of 9.2 percent within a two-year span, there would be reductions in the number of Transportation Security Officers and maintenance of transportation security equipment which would cause average passenger wait times to increase by 300 percent at TSA security check points, and at larger airports, wait times could exceed two hours.
  • After recent near-misses, our air travel would come to a halt with 125 Air Traffic Control Towers shutting down, impacting one-third of all Airports.

More information on how this proposal threatens national safety can be found here.

118th Congress