GOP lawmaker says Obama dragging feet on terror funds

King (R-N.Y.), the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, has sparred with the administration since it announced last week it is making reductions to port and mass transit security grants slated for the Big Apple. He accused people from outside New York of being insensitive to the city's needs.

ADVERTISEMENT
"The horror of 9/11 fortunately does not live with people in other parts of the country," he said in an interview on WABC radio. "We are number one on the terrorist target list."

The debate over terror funding has pitted several members of New York's congressional delegation against the Obama administration.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D) and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) have vocally criticized the decision to cut the port security grant by 25 percent and the mass transit security grant by 27 percent. The administration has said they are part of across-the-board cuts at DHS.


Napolitano penned a letter on Friday to 16 members of the Empire State's congressional delegation, including King, that defended  the decision.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said that, overall, New York has received more anti-terror funding than it did during the Bush administration and that over $275 million slated for port and transit security in New York since 2006 has not been drawn down and none has been spent from last year.

But King said that was the fault of DHS.

"In her letter to me very late Friday afternoon, Secretary Napolitano seemed to be accusing New York of sitting on piles of cash from past homeland security grant awards instead of spending the money to protect the city from terrorist attack," he said in a statement. "Her accusation is ludicrous. As the [Government Accountability Office] report shows, Secretary Napolitano and her department bear the responsibility for the fact that transit agencies in New York and elsewhere are unable to spend much of their mass transit security grant money.  She is blaming New York for a problem that lies at her own feet."

King says that the GAO report from 2009 shows that DHS "bureaucracy" and "red tape" has prevented over $700 million in anti-terror funding nationwide from being spent over the last two years.

DHS said that it is required by Congress to conduct "mandatory historic and environmental reviews" on the grants before they begin implementation, but said that it would work to speed up the reviews.

"DHS looks forward to working closely with Congress and our state and local partners to ensure we are doing everything we can to expedite these reviews," spokesman Clark Stevens said. "DHS is thoroughly committed to supporting New York City's first responders and overall preparedness against acts of terrorism and other disasters."

This post was updated at 2:30 p.m.

More in News

Obama hits the links for rare round with lawmakers

Read more »