NYC officials call on Congress to act on anti-terrorism funding

HERALD SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Millions of dollars in counterterrorism funds slated for New York City are caught up in red tape.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton are calling on Congress to release money needed for critical programs in the city.

New York City, the NYPD and other first responders have been fighting for federal money to fund anti-terrorism measures.

Now they are trying to get over one more hurdle.

Whether it's highly trained, highly sophisticated vapor wake canines, Eyewitness News revealed in an exclusive report, that detect explosives in the subway system..

To the newly formed, critical response units that can react quickly to a suspected terrorist incident..

To the hours of continuous tactical training by large groups of police officers above and below ground, these anti-terrorism efforts are put in jeopardy without necessary federal funding.

"Calling on the Congress to get it right, to protect the people of New York and entire metropolitan area," said de Blasio. "In fact, protect our country by providing these crucial anti-terror funds."

While the president wanted to cut the $600 million urban area security initiative in half, with New York City losing $90 million, Congress was able to restore the money.

The trouble is getting it appropriated in the upcoming session.

"A committee passing a bill is irrelevant unless the House passes it, the Senate passes it, and the President signs it. And right now we are in absolute gridlock," said Rep. Steve Israel, Democrat from Long Island.

NYPD officials say that since 9/11 they have thwarted 20 plots, in large measure due to the anti-terrorism efforts. But New York lawmakers point out that other communities benefit too.

"This is not just important to New York City, it is important to America," said Rep. Dan Donovan, Republican from Staten Island.

And that, officials here stress, is why despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the city, there is still a critical need for the federal money.

"If Congress doesn't act on this or start chewing it up that come October when they passed the new budget, phew, it's gone," said Bratton.
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