Nearly a third of federal anti-terrorism money the U.S. has awarded to states and cities since 9/11 hasn’t been spent by police and emergency workers who would respond to attacks and natural disasters, reports USA Today. Almost $5 billion of $16.04 billion in grants approved by Congress from fiscal 2002 to 2007 remain in federal coffers, says the Department of Homeland Security. The Bush administration and Congress are concerned that the government has been dishing out money faster than local agencies can spend it.
“Why put billions more dollars in the hopper when it’s full already?” asks Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), top Republican on the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says if Congress wants to give him more money, he wants to use it for something “unglamorous but necessary” like upgrading information technology systems in the citizenship and immigration division of his department. Among reasons for the backlog, states, say, are that equipment is backordered or it is obligated for multiyear projects. In Washington, D.C., and New York, officials complained bitterly about cuts to their grants, In Washington, 37.7 percent of money is unspent; in New York, 47.9 percent.