Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter calls Trump's proposed cuts to Coast Guard budget 'nonsensical'

Rep.: Coast Guard budget cuts don't make sense
Rep.: Coast Guard budget cuts don't make sense

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    Rep.: Coast Guard budget cuts don't make sense

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Rep.: Coast Guard budget cuts don't make sense 01:22

Story highlights

  • Administration might cut $9 million Coast Guard budget by $1.3 million
  • California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter called the slash "nonsensical" Wednesday

(CNN)Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter called a proposal from President Donald Trump's administration to slash the US Coast Guard's budget by $1.3 billion "nonsensical" Wednesday.

Speaking on CNN's "At This Hour" with Kate Bolduan, the California congressman argued the proposed cuts -- part of the administration's tentative budget for fiscal year 2018 -- would cripple the agency's "shoestring budget."
"The entire operating budget of the US Coast Guard is $9 billion," Hunter said. "It's a shoestring budget."
    This isn't the first time Hunter -- one of Trump's earliest supporters -- has spoken out against the planned cuts. In a letter to the President, the lawmaker wrote Thursday that the Office of Management and Budget's proposed reductions "would not only diminish the Coast Guard's standing and mission," but "severely undermine US national security."
    "You have President Trump talking about national security, criminal networks," Hunter said. "That's what the Coast Guard does, literally. ... It just doesn't make sense."
    CNN has reached out to the White House for comment and has not yet received a response.
    The proposed reductions would help fund boosts to the Department of Homeland Security's budget, sources told CNN Tuesday. That agency's budget is expected to swell by about 6%, to a total of $43.8 billion.
    That increase would primarily fund improvements to border security. About $1 billion will contribute to Trump's signature campaign pledge of a border wall, though estimates of the cost of the wall have been as high as $21.6 billion.
    However, the tradeoff makes for contradictory policy, Hunter said.
    "The way that you stop bad things from happening here is not directly on the border necessarily," Hunter said. "You've got to push out ... That's what the Coast Guard does. ... So this is nonsensical to me."
    Though Hunter and his staff have yet to discuss the issue with the President, they want to speak with him in the near future, Hunter said.
    "We haven't talked to him about this yet, but we want face time with him on this as soon as possible," Hunter said. "This directly contradicts what he's talking about."