New York lawmakers press for Trump security cash
New York City's House delegation is amplifying their calls for Congress to reimburse the full cost of protecting Donald Trump, whose decision to run his post-election operations from Trump Tower has saddled the Big Apple with millions of dollars in extra security costs.
Congress approved $7 million to help the city defray those costs as part of this month's short-term funding bill, but it's a fraction of the estimated $35 million the New York Police Department (NYPD) needs to protect the president-elect between Election Day and his inauguration Jan. 20.
Eleven Democratic lawmakers and one Republican argue in a letter to leaders of both chambers that it's simply unfair for New York taxpayers to cover the difference.
The lawmakers want Congress to include the outstanding $28 million as part of the next 2017 spending bill, to be considered before April, when the short-term spending bill expires.
"The scale of the security needs cannot be overstated," the lawmakers wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), retiring Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Spearheaded by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D), who represents the Manhattan district housing Trump's transition headquarters, the letter says roughly 10,000 pedestrians and 50 busses roll past Trump Tower each hour during holiday season, leading to costs that are "truly unprecedented."
"In order to address these unprecedented security challenges and meet the high standards required by the Secret Service, the NYPD has increased overtime hours, monitors all entrances and public spaces in Trump Tower, controls and redirects traffic in a heavily congested area, and has made critical security upgrades to the structure," the lawmakers wrote.
"The NYPD has done an outstanding job meeting these challenges, but it is not appropriate for the taxpayers of New York City to pay for a national security expense typically paid for by the federal government," they wrote.
The lawmakers point to other cities –– including Chicago, Washington and Kennebunkport, Maine –– which have received full reimbursement for protecting past presidents-elect in pushing for the outstanding $28 million in the 2017 spending bill.
They'll have a powerful ally in that debate. Sen. Charles Schumer (D), the incoming Senate minority leader, also hails from New York.
The other Democrats signing Maloney's letter are Reps. José Serrano, Joe Crowley, Eliot Engel, Steve Israel, Hakeem Jeffries, Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Jerrold Nadler, Kathleen Rice and Nydia Velázquez.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), the only Republican to sign the letter, was also the first member of Congress to endorse Trump during the presidential race. Last month, he was named to Trump's transition team.