Schumer Slams Obama’s Cuts to Anti-Terror Budget

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) slammed the Obama administration’s proposed cut in funds for counter-terrorism programs nationwide as “ill-advised and ill-timed,” the Associated Press reported Sunday.

Under the White House’s proposed 2017 budget, which was released last week, federal funding to the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) would be reduced from $600 million to $330 million. “These proposed cuts are ill-advised and ill-timed and they must be reversed. End of story,” Schumer told the AP in a statement. “In light of recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and the vow by our extremist enemies to launch more attacks on our shores, it makes no sense to propose cuts to vital terror-prevention programs like UASI,” he added.

Schumer credited UASI with supporting the New York Police Department in its fight against terrorism, saying, “New York City remains terror target number one and the NYPD relies on these programs to keep us safe.”

The programs funded by UASI are “the fire department’s response training and the NYPD’s counterterrorism training programs and the active shooter training course,” according to the AP. The fund also helps pay for patrols at the city’s transportation hubs, as well as training for “multi-jurisdictional response drills.”

Schumer’s warning comes days after Sen. Chris Coons (D – Del.) criticized the proposed 2017 budget for failing to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with the funds it needs to properly inspect Iran’s nuclear sites.

The Obama administration has also recently come under fire from congressional leaders and outside experts for failing to uphold limitations to the Visa Waiver Program, which excludes people who visited state-sponsors of terrorism like Iran from entering the U.S. without a visa. Emanuele Ottolenghi of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Congress last week that Iran “has long relied on Iranian nationals who are dual passport holders to pursue illegal activities, including terrorism, illicit finance, and procurement of technology for its ballistic-missile and nuclear-weapons programs.” Ottolenghi noted that “virtually all agents of the Iranian regime who over the past decade were involved in conspiracies to commit acts of terrorism, illicit financial activities, nuclear and ballistic procurement, were dual passport holders.” In answer to a question, he specifically named Mansour Arbabsiar, a dual Iranian-American national who was convicted for his involvement in a 2011 Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

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