Bratton, Schumer, de Blasio: Restore $90M anti-terrorism funding

Members of the NYPD's terror task force stand by at Feb. 17, 2016, news conference at One Police Plaza.
Members of the NYPD’s terror task force stand by at Feb. 17, 2016, news conference at One Police Plaza. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Dimitrios Kambouris

Active shooter training exercises would end, citywide surveillance programs and radiation detection devices would be cut drastically and the Office of Emergency Management would have to almost shut down under a proposed $90 million cut in federal anti-terrorism funding, local officials said yesterday.

Funding for the city has been cut from about $180 million to about $90 million for next year, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. That money is allocated between several agencies, including the police and fire departments and OEM.

“A $90 million cut is unconscionable,” Bratton said, speaking at a news conference at police headquarters. “We cannot let these cuts stand. It’s that simple.”

Joseph Esposito, city OEM commissioner, said the agency receives nearly two-thirds of its funding from these federal grants.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he wants President Barack Obama to know that the city needs the money to remain safe.

“The common-sense thing to do here is to recognize that we’re the No. 1 terror target and we need this support,” de Blasio said. “President Obama has done an outstanding job in fighting terrorism. But let’s fix this problem right now and make sure New York City has the resources that we need to keep fending off these terror attacks.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer first spoke out last weekend about the cuts to the Urban Area Security Initiative funding. Yesterday, he said Congress has until Oct. 1 to restore the funding. The Homeland Security appropriations bill will first be voted on in committee in the early summer, he said, before going to the full congress.

“The reason there hasn’t been the kind of major terrorist attack in America — and New York has been, thank God, free of future successful terrorists since 9/11 — is not an accident,” Schumer said.

New York received $759,260,209 between fiscal year 2013 and 2015, according a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official. Of that, $620,939,005 has not yet been spent, he said. But Schumer called that a “bureaucrat’s trick” and said all the money has been allocated.

Schumer’s continued comments on the issue drew a sharp response from the White House yesterday. According to a Politico report, press secretary Josh Earnest questioned Schumer’s credibility and argued the 2016 contribution is “almost twice as much as New York officials have spent out of that account over the last two years combined.”

“At some point Sen. Schumer’s credibility in talking about national security issues, particularly when the facts are as they are when it relates to homeland security, have to be affected by the position that he’s taken on other issues,” Earnest said.

“Sen. Schumer is somebody that came out and opposed the international agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He was wrong about that position, and most of his Democrats disagreed with him in taking that position. And when people look at the facts here when it comes to funding for homeland security they’ll recognize that he’s wrong this time, too.”

A spokesman for Schumer didn’t immediately respond, but the police department did.

“We stand fully behind the Police Commissioner, Mayor, and Senator’s earlier statement. The administration’s current budget reduces our federal terrorism funding by half, with real impact to New Yorkers who live in the country’s top terrorist target.”(With Emily Ngo)