Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Costly Trump security in NYC: Feds agree to pay millions

May 5, 2017
In The News

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - The tens of millions of dollars that New York City has spent on security for the first family and Trump Tower in Manhattan will be reimbursed, as Sunday's federal budget agreement includes $68 million to repay municipalities for costs.

Mayor Bill de Blasio for months has called on the Trump administration to reimburse the city for the costly security.

The city said it spent $24 million between Election Day in November and Inauguration Day in January, and estimates it costs between $127,000 and $146,000 a day when President Donald Trump is not in town. (He hasn't been since taking office). A New York City visit by the president would cost an estimated average daily rate of $308,000.

The costs to the FDNY are estimated to be $4.5 million annually.

Based on the city's estimated daily cost, it spent at most around $40 million through Trump's 100th day in office protecting Melania and Barron Trump in NYC.

The $68 million in the budget agreement includes $7 million that the city has already been promised.

The remaining $61 million is for any municipality, like New York City and Palm Beach, home of Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, where the president has spent some time since taking office.

Localities must apply for the federal funding.

Since before Trump took office, Rep. Daniel Donovan, the only Republican in the city's congressional delegation, has worked with de Blasio to seek the reimbursement.

In March, Donovan (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) testified in front of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science of the House Appropriations Committee.

He said then, "I think we can all agree that protecting the president of the United States is a national priority and honor, but circumstances have dictated that the costs of such protection fall disproportionately on the local jurisdictions. I sincerely and respectfully request that the committee fully reimburse state and local jurisdictions for the costs associated with protecting the president of the United States and the first family from Election Day to inauguration day, as well as the costs incurred thereafter."

Donovan added Monday, "I thank House appropriators and leadership for doing right by the city. As New York City's only Republican representative, I feel an obligation to work with my colleagues in the majority to advance the city's interests, and I'm glad I was successful."

Before Congress reached its budget agreement Sunday, Sen. Charles Schumer said New York City should refuse to provide first family security unless the federal government pays for it.

Speaking Monday, he said, "It's a national responsibility to guard the president of the United States and the federal government's job to pick up the tab. I fought hard to include $68 million in the federal budget agreement to provide reimbursement for New York's and Florida's security costs for guarding the president's residences. Without these funds, New York City taxpayers would have had to foot the bill for protecting the president of the United States and his family."

Responding to the budget agreement, de Blasio said, "We are getting what we are owed. That's good news for our city and the hardworking police officers faced with this unprecedented security challenge. We could not have done this without our congressional delegation, including U.S. Representatives Nita Lowey, Grace Meng, Jose Serrano, Dan Donovan and Carolyn Maloney. They worked tirelessly over the past several months to make sure these costs are paid for by the federal government."

Earlier this year, Police Commissioner James O'Neill sent a letter to the city delegation, asking them to advocate for the reimbursement.

(Staten Island Real-Time News)