Very few people, whether they identify as Democrats, Republicans, or Independents seem to be embracing the proposed budget of President Donald Trump’s administration.
Two very direct, extremely important products have come out of Trump’s presidency in the past few weeks: the Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement plan – the American Health Care Act (ACHA), and this budget proposal. Both are essentially garbage.
In response to the budget, numerous groups have spoken out in opposition. Among other things, it indirectly outlined cuts to municipal police departments in order to funnel money into the military and to a border wall — because how could the government possibly keep Americans safer than by crippling local law enforcement?
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) for instance, is the largest municipal police service in the United States. It is a diverse team of 35,000 uniformed officers and many more support/office staff. Thursday, its police commissioner joined in on the public conversation about this budget plan, and not surprisingly, he is not a fan.
Commissioner James O’Neill identified in a recent press briefing that the funding cuts would be devastating. The NYPD alone stands to “completely” lose all federal funding (grant funding) which would severely impact the NYPD’s counterterrorism unit. Currently, the NYPD receives approximately $110 million from the Homeland Security Grant Program alone, which is specifically due to the national benefit reaped from the NYPD’s counterterrorism unit.
O’Neill stated that:
‘Under the president’s proposal, nearly all federal funding to the NYPD would be eradicated. This funding is absolutely critical. It is the backbone of our entire counter-terrorism apparatus.’
The Homeland Security Grant Program is just one of many programs which President Trump (or whoever drafted this budget) deemed “unauthorized by the Congress… or that must provide more measurable results.” On average in years past, the Homeland Security Grant Program was provided an annual budget of approximately $1 billion to divide among similar programs.
It is extremely ironic that Donald Trump is taking aim to undermine the NYPD, given that the NYPD has taken on a primary responsibility in protecting Trump Tower, where Trump’s wife Melania and 10 year old son Barron still reside — since they refused to move to Washington. The NYPD doles out roughly $500,000 a day of its $5.2 billion annual budget to protect Donald Trump’s flagship piece of real estate, and members of his own family.
The counterterrorism program that is on the chopping block, is made up of an intelligence analysis program, a bomb squad (yes, for detecting and defusing bombs) and active-shooter preparedness training, which is provided to tens of thousands of their uniformed officers. O’Neill also identified that depending on how exactly the cookie crumbles with this budget, standard police activities may also be hindered.
The police commissioner tried to make his point very clear when he said:
‘It is the cornerstone of effective preparedness and prevention against terrorist threats, and enables us to do what we can do to keep this city secure. Everyone who lives in, works in, and visits New York City, this money’s critical to keeping everybody safe.
‘New York City remains one of the top terror targets in the world, and certainly the top target in the United States. The federal government has long acknowledged that fact, and to cut that funding would make us increasingly less safe.’
Yet if Americans recall, Donald Trump as a candidate for president promised to make America safer.
Feature Image via Getty Images/Spencer Platt.