U.S. Coast Guard
A U.S. Coast Guard boat patrols Lake Michigan at the America's Cup World Series sailing event at Chicago, June 11, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut the Coast Guard budget by $1.3 billion has triggered protest from a bipartisan group of House lawmakers who, in a letter Monday, asked appropriators to reject the plan.

Led by Coast Guard and Maritime subcommittee chairman Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California), the lawmakers sent the letter to the Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee calling the budget cut “nonsensical.” They also said the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) seemed to be rejecting the Coast Guard’s role as a branch of the U.S. military.

“It's nonsensical to pursue a policy of rebuilding the Armed Forces while proposing large reductions to the U.S. Coast Guard budget,” the letter read. “Without question, OMB's proposed cut targeting the Coast Guard directly contradicts the President's stated goals and should be dismissed.”

“Our recommendation is that OMB's financial outline, specific to the Coast Guard, be rejected on the grounds that, if implemented, it would serve to the detriment of U.S. national security and create exposures that will most certainly be exploited by transnational criminal networks and other dangerous actors,” the letter stated.

Furthermore, they noted that in order to fortify the southern border of the country from drugs and illegal immigrants, the Coast Guard’s budget should get a hike. At present, the Coast Guard operates with a $9.1 billion annual budget.

“The concern with OMB’s financial outline is that is that it severely discounts the value and effectiveness of the U.S. Coast Guard in drug interdiction and maritime security, and its standing as an armed service,” the lawmakers said, in the letter.

Also, the plan to cancel a new ship — which cost about $500 million — has miffed the opposers. The lawmakers stated that termination of the contract may affect “good American jobs” and is likely to result in loss of “hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.”

Trump is due to submit a 2018 budget to Congress on Thursday. The budget is expected to increase defense discretionary spending by $54 billion at the cost of non-defense discretionary spending, according to Defense News.

On March 7, the Washington Post reported Trump is planning to bring budget cuts to Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other agencies in a bid to fund the $21.6 billion border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.