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Schumer, King knock cuts in counterterrorism funding

Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.,

Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., gestures while delivering his opening remarks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Credit: AP

Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Peter King criticized the federal Department of Homeland Security decision to cut by nearly 30 percent grant money for counterterrorism and other security programs for the city's mass transit systems and ports.

The department announced last week the New York City region would get $110.6 million from its Transit Security Grant Program. The allocation is a drop of 28 percent from 2009 funding of $153.3 million, Schumer and King said Friday. A port security grant declined 26 percent, from $45 million to $33 million.

"When the administration is wrong, they're wrong," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "New York is being asked to shoulder many burdens and remains the prime target of terrorists, so it makes no sense for the administration to cut this money."

The cut comes just after the federal government announced last week that more than $151 million in other homeland security grants would be earmarked for New York City and Long Island for the next fiscal year, up from the 2009 award of $145.1 million. The region is considered to be one of 10 large urban areas at high risk of a terrorist attack.

King (R-Seaford), who heads the Republican Party's Committee on Homeland Security, called the more recent grant allocation "meager," saying the money would have gone to chemical weapon and radiation detectors, canine units, law enforcement training and other ongoing security programs.

"There are over a thousand entrances and exits to the city's subways. Airports are relatively easy to secure," King said Saturday. "Putting aside the human cost, which you can't do, imagine the impact one bomb in the subway would have economically on the city."

King also cited the recent federal Department of Justice decision to put accused terrorist Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four others on trial in Manhattan as cause for maintaining the funding.

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