By MAGGIE HABERMAN, Politico
President Obama arrives in lower Manhattan Thursday afternoon to thank the NYPD for its heroic in an attempted Times Square bomb â€“ but the photo-op may not go according to plan.
The Department of Homeland Security told congressional officials Wednesday that it’s moving to make cuts in anti-terror funding to New York City, less than two weeks after cops helped thwart and attempted car bombing in Times Square â€“ an effort the White House has since pinned on the Pakistani Taliban.
The cuts, lawmakers were told, amount to about 25 percent for port security, and another 27 percent for transit security, according to several reports.
It “just makes no sense at all, particularly in light of recent events,” Sen. Charles Schumer told cable station NY1’s “Inside City Hall.” “The worst nightmare we probably face is some kind nuclear device placed in a container in the ship in the harbor and exploding….we need all the help we can get.”
Schumer criticized the cut, but didn’t blast the president – saying Obama understands the need for the funds and blaming Washington bean-counters.
The actual scope of the cuts wasn’t immediately clear, but the move drew instant backlash from top New York lawmakers and presented poor optics for the president on the eve of his trip.
King said there were suggestions in December that the cuts would be deep, but that the final figures were revealed today in briefings.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful,” he said. “This was bad news…what we can do, though, is press DHS as much as we can.”
Mayor Bloomberg demurred when asked about the cuts by reporters, saying he hadn’t been officially informed of anything. But the mayor has been among the chief advocates for maintaining anti-terror funding levels to the city.
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