It is heartless and it is mindless and it is a lie.
John McGahern, writer
Apparently the terrorist threat is not as imminent as we are led to believe. The Bush administration has told Washington D.C. that it will not reimburse the District for the expenses incurred with the inauguration. Administration offices told them to use nearly $12 million from their homeland security budget.
In the past three years, the District has received $240 million because it is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack. But, what’s $12 million when it’s for wining and dining loyal Bushies?
It does not matter that the region had earmarked federal homeland security funds for such priorities as increasing hospital capacity, equipping firefighters with protective gear and building transit system command centers.
Feeding the fat cats is more important than preparing for a potential terrorist attack. Why should we be surprised when this administration has never shown any foresight in regards to the safety and financial security of the sinking working class?
Inauguration officials estimate costs of $40 million for the four-day celebration, which will include fireworks, the swearing-in, a parade and nine balls. Those expenses -- which do not include security and other public services -- are being funded by private donors.
According to the Washington Post, the Office of Management and Budget, and Department of Homeland Security spokesmen said they could not provide an estimate of what the inauguration will cost the federal government. A spokesman for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees the District, called the Bush administration's position "simply not acceptable."
"It's an unfunded mandate of the most odious kind. How can the District be asked to take funds from important homeland security projects to pay for this instead?" said Davis spokesman David Marin.