- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2019

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday the White House hasn’t responded yet to her requests for reimbursement for President Trump’s “Salute to America” festival on the Fourth of July. She projected that the event will drain a fund intended to protect the District from terrorist attacks and provide security for events by the end of the year.

“We’ll continue to work with the White House and Congress to make sure D.C. taxpayers aren’t left holding the bag for federal events,” Ms. Bowser, a Democrat, said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Ms. Bowser wrote in a letter to the White House: “[O]ur projections indicate that the [Emergency Planning and Security Fund] will be depleted following your additional July 4th holiday activities and subsequent first amendment demonstrations. The accrued amount for the July 4th holiday totals approximately $1.7 million.”

The mayor told CNN that the city needs the funds to provide the security necessary to keep order for holiday celebrations and protests, otherwise they will have to take taxpayer dollars away from D.C. residents.

“Our local police department, MPD, supports crowd control, First Amendment demonstration, the movement of officials and it’s a lot of man-hours used as well as equipment used to support these events. We are happy to host the federal government in Washington, D.C. and support these events, but there is a cost, and that cost must be bored by the federal government,” she said.

Ms. Bowser confirmed reports that the federal government hasn’t reimbursed D.C. for more than $7 million dollars in costs for Mr. Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

She said she will work with both the White House and Congress to get that debt repaid and “to prepare for the next inauguration”

“Regardless of administration, the D.C. government works with the White House to make sure that we have the expenses that we need. Now at the last inauguration, we had extraordinary First Amendment demonstration that accounts for more than what’s allotted,” she said, adding that the costs of protests should be allocated in the 2021 inauguration budget. 

“But we have to get through 2019 before we can even do that, we already believe that through the end of 2019 we will be short if those funds are not replenished,” Ms. Bowser added.

“Our experience with working with the White House over several administrations is that the White House pays its bills, and we’re going to ask President Trump to do that as well,” she said.


• Bailey Vogt can be reached at bvogt@washingtontimes.com.

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