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U.S. Coast Guard avoids budget cuts

By Ryan Maass
U.S. Coast Guard avoids budget cuts
A bipartisan coalition in Congress protested the Trump Administration's plans to shrink the U.S. Coast Guard's budget. Pictured, a U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley

March 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard will not see the budget cuts the Trump administration planned for the branch after a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers blocked the move.

While President Donald Trump continues to push Congress to boost budgets for military branches managed by the Department of Defense, the administration sought to strip $1.3 billion in spending for the Coast Guard. The cut would have been equal to 12 percent of the branch's budget.

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The Coast Guard is managed by the Department of Homeland Security. According to Defense News, the service received an "avalanche" of support from lawmakers from both major political parties after a letter signed by 23 senators protested any cuts.

Speaking to reporters following the event, Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, the 25th commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, said the administration should be considering an increase for the branch's budget, rather than a cut.

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"The Coast Guard often finds itself serving in the shadows, and we need to put ourselves in the limelight," he said. "We're deployed all over the world. We've been deployed to the North Arabian Gulf for going over 13 years now. We are where our Department of Defense is. We are an armed service."

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USA Today reports Trump initially asked for $54 billion to fund the other armed services, but left the Coast Guard out of the request.

In a press release issued Thursday, the Defense Department revealed Trump is asking House Speaker Paul Ryan for an additional $30 billion for fiscal year 2017 to "rebuild the armed forces" and hasten the defeat of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.

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