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NYC joins Seattle and Portland in suing the Trump administration over federal funding


New York City announced Thursday it will join Seattle and Portland in challenging the Trump administration’s move to withhold funds from ‘anarchist jurisdictions’. 

NYC Corporation Counsel James Johnson said: ‘We’re bringing this action because they have taken concrete steps – they have actually taken this ‘anarchist’ designation and started to include it in applications for federal grants.’

The Justice Department in September said the three cities could have federal funding slashed under a memorandum by President Donald Trump that sought to identify localities that permit ‘anarchy, violence and destruction in American cities.’

‘I said weeks ago if the Trump administration persisted in trying to illegally take away funding from New York City we would take them to court, and we will beat them in court,’ New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. 

He added: ‘It’s morally wrong, it’s legally unacceptable, it’s unconstitutional. We are confident of victory in this case.’ 

City official Johnson, who joined de Blasio at the mayor’s daily briefing, said NYC could see it lose up to $12 billion in funding.  

NYC Corporation Counsel James Johnson, pictured, said: 'We're bringing this action because they have taken concrete steps - they have actually taken this 'anarchist' designation and started to include it in applications for federal grants'

Johnson joined Bill de Blasio, pictured, at the mayor's briefing

NYC Corporation Counsel James Johnson, left, said: ‘We’re bringing this action because they have taken concrete steps – they have actually taken this ‘anarchist’ designation and started to include it in applications for federal grants.’ He joined Bill de Blasio, right, Thursday 

Johnson said the lawsuit will say Trump’s actions violate federalism and illegally infringe into Congress’ ‘power of the purse’.   

‘What we’ve seen from President Trump threatening funding for New York City and other cities, it’s morally wrong, it’s legally unacceptable, it’s unconstitutional,’ de Blasio said Thursday. ‘And we’re going to fight it.’ 

New York has been hit with surging crime over the summer. Shootings in August soared 166 percent compared to the same month last year, and murder rose 47 percent, according to NYPD statistics.

Protests over racial injustice have also spilled into violence and riots.

The NYPD’s resources have been cut thin as their enormous budget was slashed by $1billion. 

Earlier this month it was reported  the number of homebuyers purchasing apartments in Manhattan has dropped by 46 per cent in the third quarter amid pandemic lockdowns.

Manhattan has been hit with high unemployment and growing problems with sanitation and public transit and has only had 10 per cent of workers return to their office buildings. 

Protests over racial injustice have also spilled into violence and riots in NYC

Protests over racial injustice have also spilled into violence and riots in NYC

Manhattan has been hit with high unemployment and growing problems with sanitation and public transit and has only had 10 per cent of workers return to their office buildings

Manhattan has been hit with high unemployment and growing problems with sanitation and public transit and has only had 10 per cent of workers return to their office buildings

The NYPD's resources have been cut thin as their enormous budget was slashed by $1billion

The NYPD’s resources have been cut thin as their enormous budget was slashed by $1billion

Meanwhile, the Justice Department said the three cities were designated as ‘anarchist’ jurisdictions because they met criteria including ‘whether a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction’ and whether the city ‘disempowers or defunds police departments.’

The move came as Trump sought to label cities run by Democratic mayors as under siege by violence and lawlessness, despite the fact that most of the demonstrations against racial injustice have been largely peaceful. 

The Justice Department in September said the three cities could have federal funding slashed under a memorandum by President Donald Trump that sought to identify localities that permit 'anarchy, violence and destruction in American cities'

The Justice Department in September said the three cities could have federal funding slashed under a memorandum by President Donald Trump that sought to identify localities that permit ‘anarchy, violence and destruction in American cities’

The cities could lose millions in funding for HIV treatment, screenings for newborns, programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with nearly 200 other health programs, according to details in documents obtained and revealed by Politico Wednesday.

Trump’s September 2 memo said the Democrat-run cities are not doing enough to stop rioting and violence stemming from months-long civil unrest over relations between police and the black community – an issue that has become a rallying point for the president’s reelection campaign.

‘My Administration will do everything in its power to prevent weak mayors and lawless cities from taking Federal dollars while they let anarchists harm people, burn buildings, and ruin lives and businesses,’ Trump tweeted shortly after releasing the memo last month. 

Three weeks after the memo came out, Attorney General Bill Barr labeled New York, Portland and Seattle as ‘anarchist jurisdictions,’ and the White House budget office instructed federal departments to comb over funding for the nation’s capital as well.

The newly reviewed documents Wednesday show the Department of Health and Human Services has identified these few hundred health programs for review, which could subsequently face cuts in the two weeks leading up to the presidential election.

It isn’t clear when or how cuts will be made and how they will affect these cities as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cripple economies and stress local budgets.   

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