Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams is criticizing the Bush administration’s refusal to reimburse the city for costs related to tomorrow’s inauguration, the Washington Post reports. Williams called it “an unfunded mandate” that will use up cash needed to prepare the nation’s capital for a potential terror attack. Speaking to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Williams called on that group and others that represent local government to protest the decision to force the city to use $11.9 million in homeland security funds to pay for police and other services on Inauguration Day. The federal government usually covers those costs.
“This is not a good precedent, and it is not a good planning tool, to use preparedness funds when you really don’t have an emergency,” Williams said. “Whether it’s in Washington, or whether it’s in Boston, or whether it’s in any city, if there’s a major national event, homeland security funds should not be used. And we certainly shouldn’t be pushing on cities unfunded mandates to support these events.” Washington, D.C., Council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4), among others, urged Williams to tell the White House in essence, no cash, no cops. Williams sees no need for such “dramatic gestures.”