Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) on Sunday signaled he might not support the White House's proposed $200 million fund to help cities defray the costs of hosting domestic terror trials.
"It's hard to justify spending more money," Bayh told Fox News Sunday, noting his opposition to the fund did not mean he now supported trying terror suspects before military commissions.
"I don't think we should spend any more money...," he repeated, adding the Justice Department should consider cheaper, safer venues. "We have a lot of fiscal problems."
White House officials signaled late Saturday they would introduce the new assistance fund as part of next year's budget, in response to growing concerns that the Justice Department's forthcoming terror trials could hamstring cities' finances.
That has been the chief complaint from New York lawmakers, in particular, who fear the upcoming trials of five 9/11 suspects in a Manhattan court could present their city with insurmountable financial challenges.
Police commissioners estimate those proceedings could cost New York City roughly $200 million annually, and legal experts expect the trial to span at least two years.
However, increasing opposition to the Justice Department's plan could render that estimate moot: White House officials are reportedly considering alternate venues for the 9/11 case, though they have not announced any specifics.