Cities are pushing back on the possibility of losing millions of dollars in U.S. anti-terrorism grants under President Trump’s spending plan, the third straight White House that has moved to cut the funding, the Associated Press reports. The proposed budget would cut cash for the program from $605 million to nearly $449 million for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 and require cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas to pay 25 percent of the grants. The administration says it is proposing the cost-share system, similar to other grant programs, to “share accountability” with states and cities. Members of Congress and local officials argue that reducing funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative would undercut efforts to maintain safe communities. Cities have spent the money on command centers, active-shooter training and personnel to patrol airports, transit hubs and waterways.
Big cities have been down this road before, with funding fluctuating over the years. President George W. Bush created the program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but scaled it back in his second term. President Barack Obama’s proposed 2017 budget suggested slashing the funding from $600 million to $330 million. Both times, local politicians reacted with outrage and questioned the wisdom of taking away money in the fight against terrorism. This year, Congress ignored Obama’s guidance and increased funding by $5 million. Some cities that have received grants have not spent all the money, another reason the White House says the changes are needed. The proposed cuts came a day after the deadly Manchester, England, concert bombing. On the same day, authorities in Las Vegas tried to ease concerns about the city being targeted in a recent Islamic State propaganda video. It encouraged knife and vehicle attacks and featured images of Sin City, New York City’s Times Square and banks in Washington, D.C.