Schumer Hits Obama on Anti-Terror Funding Cuts

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer broke with President Barack Obama for the second time in a year, criticizing the administration over proposed cuts to homeland security funding.

Speaking at a press conference alongside NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton in New York on Wednesday, Schumer called the proposed 2017 budget — which reduces funding to the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) from $600 million in 2016 to $330 million in 2017 — a “punch in the gut” to local law enforcement on anti-terror missions.

“UASI is the lifeblood of New York’s anti-terror programs and funds the massive terror prevention program for downtown Manhattan and its expansion into Times Square and Midtown,” said Schumer.“The president, in general, has been very good on security, but this is a serious mistake.”

“With ISIS-inspired attacks and terrorism on the rise all across the globe, we must make sure that America has the resources it needs to remain protected,” he stressed. “It makes no sense for the administration to slash critically needed anti-terrorism funding, especially at a time when we are all on high alert.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Schumer in calling on Congress to maintain full funding for the UASI. “As a city and as a nation, we cannot afford to lose this essential funding at a time when we face increased threats. New York’s tireless police force and first responders have done their part – now it’s time for our leaders in Washington to do theirs,” said de Blasio.

Almost immediately, the White House fired back, pointing to Schumer’s voting record on the issue and highlighting his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal. “I will just say that at some point, Senator Schumer’s credibility in talking about national security issues — particularly when the facts are as they are when it relates to homeland security — have to be affected by the position that he’s taken on other issues,” White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest told reporters during a daily press briefing. “Senator Schumer is somebody that came out and opposed the international agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He was wrong about that position. And most Democrats agreed — disagreed with him in taking that position.”

“And when people look at the facts here when it comes to funding for homeland security, they’ll recognize that he’s wrong this time, too,” he added.

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