Donald Trump is considering cutting federal funding for coronavirus relief and other aid programs for the poor and sick in cities he has deemed ‘anarchist’, including New York City; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and Seattle, Washington.
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.
President Trump already called on federal agencies in a September 2 memo to trim funding to localities that have seen an uptick in ‘lawlessness’ as they ‘disempower’ police departments by calling for them to be defunded or dismantled.
The memo said that these Democrat-run cities aren’t 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.
Donald Trump’s administration is considering slashing funds to cities the president has deemed ‘anarchist jurisdictions’
The review of aid and federal grants comes after Trump called for agencies to trim funding to Democrat cities that have seen an uptick in ‘lawlessness’ as they ‘disempower’ police departments
Calls to defund and dismantle law enforcement and police departments came in the midst of nationwide protests related to police violence within the black community
Officials from New York City and Seattle are threatening legal action if Trump moves forward with blocking funds.
‘This is nothing more than political retribution,’ a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Laura Feyer, told Politico.
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.
The Department of Transportation has already moved to implement the directive for cutting and reorganizing funding, claiming earlier in October that the president’s ‘anarchy’ memo would factor into its review of applications for a $10 million grant program supporting safety measures related to the pandemic.
All federal departments are facing a Friday deadline to submit their own lists of grants and funding awards that have gone to the four cities so the White House Office of Management and Budget so it can make the final decision regarding potential cuts.
‘As the data comes in, OMB will collect it and make a decision,’ a senior administration official, told Politico.
They unnamed official said the administration will make decisions about each grant individually and did not rule out the possibility that cities could lose existing funds.
‘We need to review the information with agencies before we know,’ the individual said. ‘Grant programs all have different authorities so it’s going to be case by case.’
The review of documents shows HHS sent its list of more than 1,500 funding awards for the targeted cities to the office last Friday.
The agency, however, identified that only six of the 185 grant programs from the 12 agencies it oversees are related to law enforcement.
The other grants and funding programs include everything from the president’s own initiative to end HIV transmission by 2030 – which has $850,000 going to Seattle – to the war on drugs and ending the opioid epidemic – which allocated $4.6 million to D.C.’s Department of Health Care Finance for treatment and recovery services.
It also includes programs like a nearly half-million grant for universal health screenings for newborns in Washington D.C., one for addiction recovery housing in Seattle and another providing mental health and nutrition counseling to seniors in New York.
The short list of programs related to law enforcement under HHS jurisdiction include some public health initiatives, child support enforcement and hospital emergency preparedness.