Sen. Chuck Schumer is barking at the Trump administration over a proposal to yank teams of bomb sniffing dogs from airports and train stations.
Transportation Security Administration David Pekoske said at a Congressional hearing last week that he wants to end the agency’s use of canine Visible Intermodal Prevent and Response team, instead requiring local governments to foot the bill if they want to keep the canines.
The bomb sniffing dogs are used at New York airports, Penn Station, ferries, ports, parades and marathons to detect explosives or explosive residue, Schumer said.
“Without critical canine security teams backed by feds, safety at local train stations, airports and large-scale events in New York City will simply go to the dogs,” Schumer (D-NY) said.
“We are talking about preserving the most basic charge of the TSA: to keep America safe. And to suggest in a formal Congressional hearing that we can do without these specially trained teams is both myopic and maddening.”
At the hearing of the House Homeland Security Transportation Subcommittee, Pekoske said “we just can’t afford to continue to provide that level of support,” according to Politico.
Previously, President Trump proposed in his budget to cut the VIPR program by $43 million, eliminating 23 dog teams.
But the spending plan passed by Congress ended up blocking those cuts, providing $58 million for the program, which pays for 31 teams around the country.
“It is unthinkable that the TSA is even considering the removal of our security firewall,” Schumer said.