Maybe I was a little too early on the Chutzpah Award yesterday, because Nancy Pelosi has some new competition. Tomorrow, Barack Obama will appear in New York City to praise the work of law-enforcement agencies in finding and stopping the terrorist that his counterterrorism efforts failed to stop before planting a bomb in Times Square. As Obama arrives, those same law-enforcement agencies will be cutting their budgets, thanks to an across-the-board cut of funding from DHS to NYC for fighting terrorism:
President Obama arrives in lower Manhattan Thursday afternoon to thank the NYPD for its heroic in an attempted Times Square bomb – but the photo-op may not go according to plan.
The Department of Homeland Security told congressional officials Wednesday that it’s moving to make cuts in anti-terror funding to New York City, less than two weeks after cops helped thwart and attempted car bombing in Times Square – an effort the White House has since pinned on the Pakistani Taliban.
The cuts, lawmakers were told, amount to about 25 percent for port security, and another 27 percent for transit security, according to several reports.
It’s not the first time that the federal government has proposed cutting some of the anti-terror funding to the Big Apple. The Bush administration proposed cuts in the spring of 2006 to both NYC and Washington DC’s anti-terror funding as part of an overall reduction of federal block grants to cities. Democrats howled over that proposal, although as my analysis at the time showed, it meant an overall reduction for New York City from 11.8% of all UASI funding to … 10.9%.
Of course, Bush didn’t cut those funds less than two weeks after a terrorist attack, either. He also didn’t propose holding terrorist trials in lower Manhattan’s federal court building. And for all of the talk about Bush’s cluelessness, he didn’t show in the Big Apple to sponge a little vicarious glory from the same law-enforcement agencies whose funding will get cut at the moment that the axe falls.
There may be time to rethink the block grants given to states and cities for anti-terror efforts, but it’s not when the federal government has let three terror plots come to fruition in the US — one of which would have killed at least hundreds of people in the city Obama plans to visit tomorrow. It takes a lot of chutzpah to show one’s face in the Big Apple to share a stage with the police officers whose funding will get cut. It takes a lot of political cluelessness, too.