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Congress Should Reject Trump's $33 Billion Supplemental Budget Request

The media is all agog over an upcoming hearing over Trump's ridiculous wiretap claims. I could care less. It's another distraction. Far more important things are at stake right now -- like our hard-earned dollars that he wants to throw away in support of his right-wing, Unamerican agenda.

What everyone should be doing is calling, writing, and emailing their elected representatives in Congress to demand they reject Trump's supplemental funding request for $33 billion which he just submitted to the House on Friday, March 16. Here is Trump's letter to Congress and the breakdown of the numbers from the White House Budget Office explaining what he is asking for.[More...]

This request is not to be confused with his 2018 budget. This is a stand-alone request for $33 billion to supplement the 2017 budget so he can build his border wall, detain and deport more immigrants, boost the military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, train and equip more non-existent moderate rebels outside Iraq and Syria, and make improvements to Guantanamo.

He wants $3 billion now for his wall.

[T]his appropriations request would provide an additional $3 billion for DHS implementation of my executive orders on border security and immigration enforcement. The request would fund efforts to plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, and make other critical investments in tactical border infrastructure and technology.

The request also proposes funding to increase immigration detention capacity, which is necessary to ensure the removal of illegal aliens from the United States. Finally, the request funds new recruiting capacity at DHS so that it may hire additional immigration law enforcement officers and agents. /p>

Where exactly will the money go?

The request also includes funding for DHS components to begin building the administrative capacity necessary to recruit, hire, train, and equip an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and agents, as you directed.

Further, the request proposes funding to increase daily immigration detention capacity to 45,700 detention beds by the end of FY 2017. This additional detention capacity is necessary to implement your policies for removing illegal aliens from the United States by enhancing interior enforcement efforts and ending "catch and release" for those apprehended at the border. (my emphasis)

An additional $24.9 billion is included to address immediate warfighting readiness needs at DOD. An additional $5.1 billion, to be designated for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), is included for DOD to accelerate the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and continue support for Operation Freedom's Sentinel (OFS) in Afghanistan.

The defense industry will be thrilled. He's even providing $2.1 billion for research on bigger and more lethal weapons and $626 million for training and equipping those mythical, non-existent moderate rebels.

  • $7.2 billion for operations and maintenance to address urgent readiness shortfalls across the joint force, including by funding additional training and facility investment and supporting critical weapons systems. These funds will also improve cyber and intelligence capabilities.
  • $13.5 billion for procurement and modernization, including additional Army Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, F-35 and F/A-18 fighter aircraft, tactical missiles, unmanned aircraft systems, and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptors, and the DDG-51 destroyer that the Congress partially funded in FY 2016.
  • $2.1 billion to accelerate priority research and development efforts, including ballistic missile and air defense, missile defeat, unmanned aircraft systems, next generation fighter aircraft, electronic warfare, anti-ship and land attack missiles, cyber operations technology, and targeting and strike support for special operations forces.
  • $1.4 billion to support urgent operational needs associated with the acceleration of Operation Inherent Resolve, DOD's campaign to defeat ISIS. The request includes funding for force protection, precision-guided munitions, intelligence collection, targeting and surveillance, defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures against ISIS's lethal drone program.

And he wants to give DOD $2 billion to throw away as it pleases:

  • $2 billion for a flexible fund that would enable DOD to allocate resources in support of the new counter-ISIS strategy to maximize the impact of U.S. counterterrorism activities and operations.

Here's money to bring us back into the war in Afghanistan and money for improvements to Gitmo(bolding is my emphasis):

$1.1 billion for ongoing U.S. operations in Afghanistan and support to global counterterrorism activities, including resources and equipment to better enable and protect our service members in their fight against terrorist groups such as the Taliban, al Qaeda, its affiliates, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria - Khorasan. The request also includes planning and design of construction projects in support of Detention Operations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The cost of his wall and new border and ICE agents:

  • $1.4 billion for CBP Procurement, Construction, and Improvements, including $999 million for planning, design, and construction of the first installment of the border wall, $179 million for access roads, gates, and other tactical infrastructure projects, and $200 million for border security technology deployments.
  • $286 million for CBP Operations and Support, including $95 million to support border surge operations, $65 million to build hiring capacity to recruit and onboard 5,000 Border Patrol agents, $18 million for project management, oversight, and support for the border wall, $43 million to enhance situational awareness at the border, and $64 million for other technology, equipment, and infrastructure investments that directly contribute to the effectiveness of border security operations. (my emphasis)
  • $1.2 billion for ICE Operations and Support, including $1.15 billion to pay for detention,transportation, and removal of illegal aliens, and for alternatives to detention; $76 million to build hiring capacity to recruit and onboard 10,000 ICE agents and officers; $5 million for homeland security investigations intelligence activities; and $5 million to support the expansion of the Section 287(g) Program. (my emphasis)

I guess the bids he put out for 24 hour parking spaces for vans within .6 miles of the LA Federal building are included in the "transportation" cost to remove immigrants. (And how unacceptable of him to use the deprecated, bigoted term "illegal" when describing human beings. Any comments here using that term will be deleted.) Also, the 287(g) program was repealed as leading to discriminatory policing. He wants to bring it back from the dead.

Trump also wants $88 million to train the new border agent hires, including for teachers, building new classrooms and hotel rooms in various place to house them as they learn. Why don't the trainers come from existing ICE/HSA/staff? Are the teachers going to get double-pay to train new recruits? Who else but law enforcement would do the training?

To pay for all this, he is asking Congress to retroactively approve $18 billion in cuts to non-defense portions of the 2017 budget.

The letter outlining the changes, that follows Trump's short letter, is on letterhead that says "The White House." It's signed someone named Mick Mulvaney. The letter doesn't even say what agency he directs. (Via Google, he is the "Director of the Office of Management and Budget".) He's certainly not the director of math -- his budget doesn't even balance or reduce the federal deficit.

He apparently was on TV today and said:

[T]hose of us who see and work with the president every day believe him, trust him, have no difficulties like the folks in the press do."

It's not just the media who disbelieve Trump. Trump's approval level sank even lower with the American public this week -- today it is down to 37%, with 58% disapproving of him .

Don't let your hard-earned tax dollars be thrown down the drain for programs that violate basic standards of human decency and fairness, and risk the lives of our military, fighting in places we have no business being, while boosting the coffers of the massive defense industry.

Call, write, email or visit your Congresspersons in Washington and tell them you will do everything you can to to ensure defeat in 2018 if they vote for this budget authorization. (And the same for your Senators who may not be up for re-election so soon.)

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