The administration says Chimpy’s coronation is more important than protecting the nation’s capital from terraists.
D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week’s inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects.
Federal officials have told the District that it should cover the expenses by using some of the $240 million in federal homeland security grants it has received in the past three years — money awarded to the city because it is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack.
“We want to make this the best possible event, but not at the expense of D.C. taxpayers and other homeland security priorities,” said Gregory M. McCarthy, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff. “This is the first time there hasn’t been a direct appropriation for the inauguration.”
A spokesman for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees the District, agreed with the mayor’s stance. He called the Bush administration’s position “simply not acceptable.”
“It’s an unfunded mandate of the most odious kind. How can the District be asked to take funds from important homeland security projects to pay for this instead?” said Davis spokesman David Marin.
The $17.3 million the city expects to spend on this inauguration marks a sharp increase from the $8 million it incurred for Bush’s first.