New York City's mayor and other Democratic officials said Wednesday that Congress was proposing to pitch in far too little for protecting Trump Tower: $7 million, or a fifth of what New York requested.
“New York City taxpayers should not be on the hook for 80 percent of the national bill'' to protect President-elect Donald Trump and his family, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement calling for Congress to “step up” in coming months.
Since Trump won the Nov. 8 election, security around the eponymous Fifth Avenue skyscraper where the Republican lives and works has been stepped up to extraordinary levels. The New York Police Department has played a major role, along with the Secret Service and Trump's private security personnel.
The tower is now safeguarded by a phalanx of city police officers armed with assault weapons, bomb-sniffing dogs and concrete barriers. Police have closed some lanes on Fifth Avenue, barricaded the block where Trump Tower residents have a private entrance and set up checkpoints manned by officers in guard booths.
De Blasio wanted up to $35 million in federal reimbursement for police overtime and other costs of safeguarding Trump from Election Day to his Jan. 20 inauguration. But stopgap spending legislation unveiled Tuesday in the Republican-led Congress includes $7 million.
The legislation would keep the government running through April. The House is expected to vote as soon as Thursday, and the Senate soon after.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called the $7 million proposal “outrageous.” Congressional Democrats from New York have also complained; one, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, said Wednesday that “Republicans in Congress have abdicated this basic responsibility” of protecting the president-elect in an area so busy that 7,000 pedestrians per hour pass by.
Similar reimbursements have been made in the past for large-scale events such as Pope Francis' visit to the city last year.