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Mayor de Blasio and U.S. Senator Schumer Call on White House to Fully Restore Critical Anti-Terror Funds

February 17, 2016

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Department of Homeland Security program provides funding to address needs of high-threat urban areas and protects against acts of terrorism

NEW YORK—Vowing to fight for anti-terrorism funding, Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and New York City’s Police, Fire and Emergency Management Commissioners called on Congress today to fully fund the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) program.

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. UASI was recommended for a national funding level of only $330 million in the President’s request for Fiscal Year 2017, after being funded at $600 million in Fiscal Year 2016.

“Anti-terror funding is no place to cut corners. It is no secret that New York City is one of the world’s top terror targets – and the Urban Area Security Initiative helps ensure that we will be prepared for whatever dangers arise. As a city and as a nation, we cannot afford to lose this essential funding at a time when we face increased threats. New York’s tireless police force and first responders have done their part – now it’s time for our leaders in Washington to do theirs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, UASI is the cornerstone of effective preparedness and prevention against terrorist threats and enables the NYPD to do all they can to keep New Yorkers safe and secure,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “With ISIS-inspired attacks and terrorism on the rise all across the globe, we must make sure that America has the resources it needs to remain protected. It makes no sense for the administration to slash critically needed anti-terrorism funding, especially at a time when we are all on high alert. I pledge to fight tooth and nail in Congress to make sure that UASI funds are increased in New York City and across the country.” 

“New York City remains a top terror target. To cut funding ­– for a city the entire federal government acknowledges is the top terror target – is indefensible,” said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton. “This would cut funding for the NYPD’s entire intelligence analyst program, vapor wake dogs, cameras monitoring high profile locations, and all of our radiological and chemical sensors. Who thought this would be a good idea?”

“Thanks to Urban Area Security Initiative funding, FDNY members are better trained to respond to terrorist attacks, hazardous materials incidents and public health outbreaks like the Ebola virus that reached New York City last year,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “A cut in UASI funding of the magnitude proposed would have immediate and potentially dangerous impacts to the Department and our city.”

“I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio and Senator Schumer for working to bring needed homeland security funding to New York City. UASI funding supports many key emergency management preparedness and response activities, and it is critical that we receive the proper level of funding to keep New York City safe and prepared,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has long advocated for robust UASI funding for New York City and joins the Mayor and Police Commissioner to call on Congress to ensure UASI is fully funded.

The Homeland Security Grant Program plays an important role in the implementation of the National Preparedness System and is comprised of three interconnected grant programs: The Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and Operation Stonegarden. Together, these grant programs fund a range of preparedness activities, including planning, organization, equipment purchase, training exercises, and management and administration.

Officials explained that urban cities like New York City rely on UASI funds to maintain terrorism prevention and response infrastructure. The leaders explained that New York City has used a portion of UASI funds to support crucial First Responder Training efforts. Examples of this include the Fire Department’s Tiered Response Training and the Police Department's Counter-Terrorism Training, such as the active shooter course. UASI funds have also been used to pay for coordinated regional planning exercises throughout the New York City Metropolitan area. The exercises are designed to prepare and coordinate multi-jurisdictional emergency response related to a large and catastrophic event. UASI funds have been used on the Ground Law Enforcement Security Measures, which includes heavy-weapons teams that conduct ongoing patrols at transit hubs, airports, bridges, subways, waterways and highly visited landmarks.

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