A day after New York lawmakers slammed the Obama Administration over plans to cut Homeland Security funds for the city, the White House hit back, saying New York will actually receive an increase of $47 million for port and transit security this year.
The additional funds won't come from the Department of Homeland Security, but instead are being doled out through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- the stimulus act passed by the Obama Administration last year, said White House spokesman Nicholas Shapiro.
Shapiro called reports that the city is losing terror money "wrong."
The confusion over New York's security budget comes less than two weeks after a failed car bombing attempt in Times Square. President Obama is expected to visit the NYPD today to thank the department for its amazing work in unraveling the botched car bomb plot.
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Peter King's office said the Department of Homeland Security was giving the city 27-percent less money this year for transit security, down to $111 million from $153 million last year. Port funding would also be cut by 25 percent, from $45 million to $34 million, his office said.
The Republican, who is the ranking member on the Committee on Homeland Security, said the Obama administration's decision was "dangerous and unconscionable."
Democrat Charles Schumer said the cuts in DHS funds "show that the administration is "not doing right by New York City on anti-terrorism funding" and urged it to reconsider.
But according to Shapiro, the combined DHS and recovery grants will come to a net increase of 24-percent for port and transit security funding this year -- with the budget increasing from $198,000,000 in 2009 to $245,000,000 for 2010.
All told "the total for NYC will be $245 million, more than $47million than what was allotted by the Bush Administration in the previous year," Shapiro said.
He said one out of every three recovery dollars for transit and port security went to the city this year, making it the largest recipient in the country.
The DHS budget is expected to be officially announced today.
Mayor Bloomberg refused to engage in the debate over whether it's more or less and sources in City Hall privately acknowledged that the White House may be right, depending on how you do the math.
But Bloomberg says he spoke to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel this morning.
"I made it clear to him that it was critically important that we get our fair share of homeland security funding," said Bloomberg. "Rahm assured me that he understands and the president understands that NYC remains a prime target for terrorists."
The mayor also said he expects it to come up with President Obama this afternoon.
The transit system has been a target of plots in the past, most recently involving suspect Najibullah Zazi, who admitted to leading a plot to bomb New York City subways.