Gushing Oil May Drown Proposal to Curb Coast Guard Funding – CQ Homeland Security

With Coast Guard officers and cutters leading the disaster response in the Gulf of Mexico, an unpopular Obama administration proposal to reduce the agency’s funding in fiscal 2011 is quickly becoming even less popular on Capitol Hill.

The Coast Guard’s prominent role in the oil spill cleanup has led some lawmakers, including Joseph I. Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to rail anew against the budget reductions, making it increasingly likely that Congress will ignore the proposed cuts.

The administration’s original $9.6 billion request for the Coast Guard in fiscal 2011 would give the agency about $156 million less than it received in fiscal 2010. The reduction would result in the elimination of about 1,000 operational staff jobs and five counterterrorism units, as well as the decommissioning of a number of cutters, helicopters and surveillance jets used in drug interdiction and rescue missions.