Schumer: Congress set to restore NYC’s slashed anti-terror funds
Averts cuts to FDNY & NYPD training, disaster drills, intelligence
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer said on Thursday that Congress is set to restore millions of dollars slashed from important anti-terror funds for New York City.
Earlier this year, the White House’s 2017 budget proposal included only $330 million for the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), which helps cities nationwide to prevent, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism. UASI was funded for $600 million in 2016.
The cuts would have removed roughly $90 million from NYC’s $180 million terror budget, according to official sources.
Schumer, who long advocated for UASI funding for New York City, had vowed to fight “tooth and nail” in Congress to restore the cuts, which he called “a mistake” made by bureaucrats.
“From the moment these ill-advised cuts were proposed, we earnestly worked to overturn them,” he said in a statement Thursday. Schumer called UASI “the cornerstone” of preparedness and prevention against terror attacks for cities like New York.
“With this increase in funds, the NYPD can continue to do all it does to keep New Yorkers safe and secure,” he said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday called New York City “one of the world’s top terror targets.”
UASI “plays a vital role in ensuring our residents are safe and prepared for any dangers that arise. In the wake of recent events, we know anti-terror funding is more critical than ever,” he said.
In February, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton called the budget cuts “indefensible.”
“This would cut funding for the NYPD’s entire intelligence analyst program, vapor wake dogs, cameras monitoring high profile locations, and all of our radiological and chemical sensors. Who thought this would be a good idea?” he said.
New York City uses a portion of its UASI funds to support First Responder Training efforts such as FDNY’s Tiered Response Training and NYPD’s Counter-Terrorism Training, including an active shooter course.
The funds also pay for coordinated regional planning exercises throughout the metropolitan area, such as the Office of Emergency Management’s simulated disaster drills. Drills like this evaluate how the city’s responders coordinate with each other and neighboring counties and states in handling catastrophes.
UASI funds have also been used to pay for the heavy-weapons teams that conduct ongoing patrols at transit hubs, airports, bridges, subways, waterways and highly visited landmarks.
UASI is part of the Homeland Security Grant Program. Other initiatives funded through this program include the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and Operation Stonegarden, which secures U.S. borders and territories.
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