Committee Seeks White House Commitment to Reimburse D.C. Emergency Fund Depleted by ‘Salute to America’ and Inauguration
Washington, D.C. (July 12, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Member of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter asking President Donald Trump to commit to reimbursing the District of Columbia Emergency Planning and Security Fund (EPSF) for the costs of his July 4 “Salute to America” event, 2017 inauguration, and other federal activities for which D.C. has provided security support.
“As Members of Congress committed to reducing the unnecessary expenditure of federal funds, upholding national security, and conducting oversight of government operations, we already had concerns about the cost and purpose of your ‘Salute to America’ event,” the Members wrote. “The depletion of the EPSF, the costs of the July 4 events, and your comments on July 8, 2019, that you plan to repeat this event next year and ‘for the foreseeable future’ only reinforce the necessity of ensuring that federal funds are spent wisely and with proper oversight. For these reasons, we respectfully request that you commit to reimbursing the EPSF for the costs of your 2017 inauguration, the July 4 ‘Salute to America,’ and other federal activities for which D.C. has provided security support.”
The letter comes on the heels of a request from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also asking the President to commit to reimbursing the EPSF.
The EPSF is a vital resource that helps cover the costs of providing public safety at federal events in the U.S. Capital, emergency response to immediate and specific terrorist threats, and requests from the U.S. Secret Service.
According to Mayor Bowser, the District's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency predicts the ESPF will be significantly in the red before the end of the current fiscal year due to "increased demand for heightened security" for federal activities. This includes a “one-time draw down of $7.3 million to cover security costs associated with the 2017 Presidential Inauguration” and $ 1.7 million for security support for President Trump’s July 4 events and related demonstrations.
These costs are in addition to the expenditure of federal funds by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of the Interior to support the President’s expanded July 4 events.
On July 9, 2019, DOD reported costs of $1.2 million to support the President’s “Salute to America” event, which included using funds from military training budgets to transport, display, and conduct flyovers by two dozen military aircraft.
In addition, the National Park Service reportedly transferred approximately $2.5 million from its existing park improvement budget to help pay for these events.
Click here to read today’s letter to President Trump.