Congress

In wake of July Fourth, D.C. emergency fund depleted

Mayor Muriel Bowser asks Trump to reimburse DC for Independence Day

President Donald Trump speaks during his 'Salute to America' event as an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday July 4, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s Fourth of July celebration has contributed to the depletion of Washington, D.C.’s fund that covers the impact of the federal government’s presence on the District’s public safety needs, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser.

In Bowser’s July 9 letter to Trump, obtained by the Washington Post, she writes that the accrued amount for this year’s Independence Day festivities totals approximately $1.7 million and that she expects the Emergency Planning and Security Fund will be barren before the end of the fiscal year, leaving overages of $6 million. Bowser says that this is attributed to declining reserves, increased demand for heightened security and a $7.3 million expenditure to cover Trump’s 2017 inauguration that, in a departure from tradition, has not been reimbursed by the executive. 

“It is critical that the EPSF is fully reimbursed for these funds to ensure the District can uphold proper security and support during the remainder of the fiscal year without incurring a deficit for federal activities,” Bowser said in the letter. “As we continue to gather estimates for the next Inauguration, we ask for your help with ensuring the residents of the District of Columbia are not asked to cover millions of dollars of federal expenses and are able to maintain our high standards of protection for federal events.”

Trump’s “Salute to America” was the source of controversy as critics took issue with the possible politicization of the holiday and his use of military equipment during his speech at the Lincoln Memorial, an event that required extra security due to his presence.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., have written their colleagues on the Appropriations committees to inject the District’s Emergency Planning and Security Fund with the funds necessary to provide sufficient support without having to dip into local funds. The House has passed its version of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill that would give D.C.’s emergency planning fund $16 million, an increase of $4 million over the previous fiscal year. Norton and Van Hollen asked for $6 million in supplemental fiscal year 2019 funds.

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