DHS kept prez in dark on funding cuts

June 23, 2006 at 2:06 PM

WASHINGTON, June 23 (UPI) -- The DHS did not notify the White House of its final allocations of anti-terrorism grants for major U.S. urban areas.

U.S. President George W. Bush and his White House were kept in the dark about the Department of Homeland Security's grant allocations, even though they included controversial cuts to New York City and Washington, until after the decisions were made, congressional and administration officials said Wednesday.

As a result, Rep. Peter King, R-NY and chairman of the Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, said he believed the DHS should have notified the White House before making its final decisions, given the controversial nature of the grant allocations, CongressDaily reported Thursday.

"I think that on an issue such as this, both on the strategic importance and the symbolic importance of New York and Washington, this is a decision that should have been made at the highest levels," King said. "I'm making clear to the department that, in the future, I believe that a decision like this should be made by or at least brought to the attention of higher-up people."

DHS spokesman Russ Knocke told CongressDaily that his agency went through an internal process to make the funding allocations and then notified the White House and Congress of the final amounts.

Knocke said the DHS had a general dialog with the White House as the grants process was under way, but the White House did not have an opportunity to make changes to the final amounts. In the end, the department made about a 40 percent reduction in its allocation of urban area security initiative grants to New York City and Washington, compared to last year.

King and other lawmakers from both parities have expressed outrage over the cuts.

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