Thursday, February 10, 2011

Senator Gillibrand to House GOP: Security Funding for NYC is National Priority

Senator Gillibrand Urges House Leadership to Drop Plans to Cut $100 Million in Security Funding that Would Protect One of New York’s Top Terror Targets
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is fighting back against House Republican plans to cut $100 million of federal funding for critical security upgrades, which were requested by the New York Police Department, at one of New York’s top terror targets, the United Nations Headquarters. In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor sent this morning, Senator Gillibrand is urging the House leadership to maintain critical funding that would help protect one of New York’s top terror targets from a terror attack.

Security funding for New York City is a national priority,” Senator Gillibrand said. “No other city in America faces the level or frequency of threats as New York does a daily basis. The NYPD does a tremendous job of remaining vigilant and protecting our city, and we must always support them with the resources they need. We can’t afford to cut funding for law enforcement that is critical for keeping our city or our nation safe.”

House leaders and Budget Committee members announced their plan on Tuesday, and are set to vote on the cuts on the House floor today. However, fellow Republican and House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King has already expressed a commitment to protect the funding for New York’s security.

Senator Gillibrand’s full letter to Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor:

Dear Mr. Speaker,

I write to oppose H.R. 519, which would cut $100 million in critical security funding for New York. This funding is intended to upgrade the security perimeter around the United Nations (UN) – one of the most significant terror targets in the world. Security funding for New York is a national priority, and I urge you to not bring this bill up on the floor.

The terrorist threat to New York has dramatically risen since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Since that day, there have been 12 known major terrorist plots against locations in New York City. New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Ray Kelly has stated that the security of the UN is critical for New York, and has requested that necessary upgrades be made to provide adequate protection and address the structural deficiencies that create unnecessary vulnerabilities. It is my understanding that without these upgrades a car bomb would do extensive damage not just to the UN, but to the New York neighborhoods in the vicinity. The NYPD has worked with the UN to identify specific vulnerabilities that are in need of addressing, and in response to these concerns the State Department made its commitment to apply certain unused United States contributions to the UN to make the security enhancements. The NYPD supports funding for the security improvements and opposes any efforts to compromise such funding.

I share a commitment to reducing excess federal spending in a fiscally responsible and prudent manner; however, this legislation is not the appropriate solution. H.R. 519 will put in jeopardy the critical security enhancements that have been identified by the NYPD and the UN. I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision to bring this flawed legislation to the floor.

The Honorable Eric Cantor
Majority Leader
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515