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Mayor de Blasio Leads 18 Bipartisan Mayors in Fight to Prevent Terror Funding Cuts

March 15, 2016

Mayors from across United States call on Washington to fund essential anti-terror program

NEW YORK—In a bipartisan effort led by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, 18 mayors called on Washington, D.C. to fully fund the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program. The mayors’ letter made clear that proposed cuts to key homeland security grant programs would directly jeopardize the safety of citizens across the country.

“Our message is simple and urgent: we must protect the residents of New York City and all terrorist targets in our country. We are calling on Congress to fully fund this essential program, which provides crucial funding to our NYPD, FDNY, and Emergency Management Department,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These key agencies play an essential role in our anti-terror response and have kept our city safe for years. In light of recent attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, France, now is not the time to cut corners on our security.”

Today in Washington, D.C., Mayor de Blasio will enter the bi-partisan mayors’ letter into the record during his testimony at the House Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications Subcommittee “State of Emergency: The Disaster of Cutting Preparedness Grants” hearing.

“If Americans agree on one thing, it is the expectation that all levels of government will work together to keep their families and communities safe,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Mayors have no higher calling than doing all we can to protect the people who live in, work in, and visit our cities – and the UASI is critical to those efforts at a time when we have seen devastating terror attacks at home and abroad. In our city and region – which has the nation’s third busiest airport and the top two busiest ports, accounting for 40 percent of the goods coming into the U.S. – there is no room to compromise on the preparedness and capability of our first responders. Congress must fully fund this program.”

The letter explains that severe reductions in UASI funding would destabilize ongoing security and intelligence gathering efforts: “Law enforcement requires this funding to continue to procure the necessary equipment to detect potential chemical, biological, and radiological weapons. First responders utilize funds to train and develop innovative best practices to improve response and save lives. These investments in security preparedness are crucial for both the safety and security of our residents, as well as the countless tourists who visit our cities.”

The UASI program provides funding to address the unique needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas, and to assists these localities in building sustainable capacity to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism. The President’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposed a national funding level of only $330 million, an almost 50 percent cut from the $600 million in Fiscal Year 2016.

Read the full letter here.

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