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U.S. Tells D.C. to Pay Inaugural Expenses


D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects.



Federal officials have told the District that it should cover the expenses by using some of the $240 million in federal homeland security grants it has received in the past three years -- money awarded to the city because it is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack.



But that grant money is earmarked for other security needs, Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said in a Dec. 27 letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Williams's office released the letter yesterday.



Williams estimated that the city's costs for the inauguration will total $17.3 million, most of it related to security. City officials said they can use an unspent $5.4 million from an annual federal fund that reimburses the District for costs incurred because of its status as the capital. But that leaves $11.9 million not covered, they said.



"We want to make this the best possible event, but not at the expense of D.C. taxpayers and other homeland security priorities," said Gregory M. McCarthy, the mayor's deputy chief of staff. "This is the first time there hasn't been a direct appropriation for the inauguration."



A spokesman for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees the District, agreed with the mayor's stance. He 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.



The region has earmarked federal homeland security funds for such priorities as increasing hospital capacity, equipping firefighters with protective gear and building transit system command centers.



OMB spokesman Chad Kolton said no additional appropriation is needed for the inauguration.



"We think that an appropriate balance of money from [the annual reimbursement] fund and from homeland security grants is the most effective way to cover the additional cost the city incurs," Kolton said. "We recognize the city has a special burden to bear for many of these events. . . . That's expressly why in the post-9/11 era we are providing additional resources."



The $17.3 million the city expects to spend on this inauguration marks a sharp increase from the $8 million it incurred for Bush's first.



According to Williams's letter, the District anticipates spending $8.8 million in overtime pay for about 2,000 D.C. police officers; $2.7 million to pay 1,000-plus officers being sent by other jurisdictions across the country; $3 million to construct reviewing stands; and $2.5 million to place public works, health, transportation, fire, emergency management and business services on emergency footing.



Congressional aides said the District sought unsuccessfully last year to boost the annual security reimbursement fund from $15 million to $25 million to pay for inauguration expenses. In contrast, New York City and Boston-area lawmakers were able to obtain $50 million from Congress for each of those two jurisdictions to cover local security costs for the national political conventions.



Inauguration officials said they plan to spend $40 million on 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.



OMB and DHS spokesmen said they could not provide an estimate of what the inauguration will cost the federal government.



Federal employees who work in the District, Montgomery, Prince George's, Fairfax and Arlington counties, Alexandria and Falls Church are entitled to a holiday on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, the Office of Personnel Management has announced. As of June, the cost of giving federal workers in the capital area a day off was about $66 million.



Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) asked OPM chief Kay Coles James yesterday to dismiss federal employees at noon or 1 p.m. Jan. 19 to avoid gridlock. The Secret Service (news - web sites) plans to close an area bordered by Constitution Avenue and E, 15th and 17th streets NW at 3:45 p.m. that day to accommodate a ceremony at the White House Ellipse, Norton's office said.

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I grew in Washington D.C. , and unless they changed a hell of alot , they dont spend money on anything related to the city! There police vehicles are ill equiped , so dont even have computers , some dont have radios they have to take portable radios with them , light bars dont fix , the fire department is the same way , Public works has always been underbudgeted , theres city vehicle carcasses in the streets, go down to SouthEast D.C. and tell me the city spends money on there own people!


Washington D,C is one of the largest ghetto's in the country , besides all the monuments and Georgetown , its a slum , go down any lettered street day or night and theres drug dealers out and little kids hang with them!


Every politician that runs for office in D.C knows that when there term is up they will be millionaires , thanks to there big cousins in the oval office ! So when they whine about inaugerations  (they did the same thing when Clinton took office /both times) , they aint got shit to be talking about , show proof that your helping your city out first , physical proof , tangible proof , a drive through of southeast at 9pm should be ample proof that no money is going to the city , I dare ya to ride through at 9pm , if your white , your a dead man! If your black and you aint from there , your a dead man!

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I used to commute to work every day on the Chief to Southeast DC.  It's gotten better, with the city's "revitalizing" the area.  There' new building there, and the new Nationals stadium is slated to be built somewhere near Bolling AFB / Navy Anacostia Annex.  (That's not to say it isn't still a shithole, but it's improving.)


And most of the folks who saw me at traffic lights in DC on the Chief said, "Nice bike" - and none of them f*cked with me.


Your mileage may vary.

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I voted for Bush...I wish he would have stood up and said that at the current state our country is in that he would just forgo all of the frill. Just wear his jeans.. give the Judge his time and say goodbye. I know that many Presidents were inaugerated during a war. Everyone costs alitte more...but the cost is all relavant to the times. I bought my first truck for 6 k, my last one was 32k :uhoh: I just thought that if he said no let's put the money somewhere else that it would have earned him alot ...major respect...my 2 cents
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