Trump’s Budget Would Cut Anti-Terrorism Funding for Cities

The money for the Urban Area Security Initiative is used on training, command centers, personnel and more.

President Donald Trump became the third straight president to propose decreasing federal anti-terrorism grants to cities under a program formed after the Sept. 11 attacks.

President Trump’s spending plan would turn the Urban Area Security Initiative into a cost-share system and reduce federal funding from $605 million to about $449 million.

The initiative gives cities money to spend on things like command centers, active-shooter training and personnel to guard critical infrastructure and other high-risk areas like airports.

Trump administration officials have proposed requiring cities including New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas to pay 25 percent of the grants in order to “share accountability” with the federal government. The administration also noted that, in previous years, some cities did not spend all the grant money.

Still, the proposal has been criticized by some lawmakers and local officials who argue the funding is crucial to protecting against terrorist attacks.

Law enforcement officials in Orlando, Florida, told lawmakers that central Florida was unable to purchase necessary equipment or undergo certain training in part because it had not made the cut to receive federal funding.

In 2016, 29 metro areas received funding based on criteria including perceived risk of terrorist threats, amount of valuable infrastructure and the consequence of an attack on the population, economy or national security, reports the Associated Press.

“America’s cities are critical partners in the fight against terrorism- and taking away this funding would undermine the national priority to secure the homeland,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.

The Trump administration included a written justification with the proposal that stated, in part: “The federal government cannot afford to over-invest in programs that state and local partners are slow to utilize when there are other pressing needs.”

Former President Barack Obama’s 2017 budget proposed an even deeper cut in the program’s funding, from $600 million to $330 million. President George W. Bush also decreased funding to the program in his second term.

Read Next: Why Do Terrorists Target Colleges and Universities?

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