Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) named the mayors of Seattle, New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon, as her latest Squeal Award recipients for defunding police departments then blasting President Donald Trump for cutting their federal aid.
“In cities across our country, the safety, security, and basic rights of Americans are under assault as radical politicians tolerate, and even encourage, lawlessness—and seek to defund law enforcement,” Ernst said in a statement Sept. 14 to announce the recipients.
“Folks, canceling the police will only make our streets more dangerous, putting the life and liberty of the very residents in those communities at risk,” the Iowa Republican said.
All five of the mayors—Seattle’s Jenny Durkan, Portland’s Ted Wheeler, New York’s Bill de Blasio, Washington’s Muriel Bowser, and San Francisco’s London Breed—have backed demands that law enforcement funding either be dramatically reduced, “re-allocated,” or abolished altogether.
All five cities have seen repeated riots, deaths, and destruction instigated by Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and other radical left-wing groups seeking the violent overthrow of government in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man, in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Law enforcement officials in the five cities have been handicapped by the mayors in how they’ve been allowed to deal with rioters, looters, and destruction of public and private property.
“The results are heartbreaking,” Ernst said in her statement. “New York City, for example, is witnessing an extreme spike in shootings and murders as a direct result of its city and state officials’ tolerance of crime. The hundreds of victims include a church caretaker shot inside the church and a mother shot in the head in front of a school.”
“That is why I am giving my September 2020 Squeal Award to the mayors of these cities who are failing their own residents by forbidding law enforcement and emergency responders from doing their jobs, resulting in the tragic loss of life.”
Ernst also condemned the five mayors for threatening to sue Trump for acting on the July 21 letter signed by Ernst and other congressional Republicans urging the president to cut federal funding to cities that slash police department budgets.
“In Fiscal Year 2019, the federal government provided the top 20 most populous U.S. cities over $88 billion in taxpayer dollars. That money comes from the people, and should have been spent to protect them, not put them in harm’s way,” Ernst and the other signers said in the letter.
“The most fundamental duty of these cities is to provide security for law-abiding citizens. Instead, we have seen businesses destroyed and lives senselessly taken.”
Ernst wrote in her Sept. 14 statement: “Following our urging, the President is now directing the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to cut off federal funding to these five lawless jurisdictions. And like clockwork, the mayors of these cities are now planning a lawsuit.
“Without the slightest hint of irony, the same politicians sworn to enforce the law but who want to cut funding for law enforcement are now squealing when their own funding is being cut.”
An investigation by Open the Books, a nonprofit government watchdog, found nearly $15 billion in federal grants and contracts going to the five cities. Seattle’s total, for example, was $365.1 million in federal dollars.
“The City of Seattle (Mayor Jenny Durkan) received $97.5 million. The public schools received $42.5 million. The housing authority received $203 million in federal aid,” the nonprofit reported earlier this year.
“Other governments receiving aid included City Light—a city-owned utility ($3.8 million), and the Port of Seattle ($17 million). Seattle colleges received $1.1 million in grant funding.
“Since FY2016, federal funding into Seattle-based governments increased from $283.6 million to $365.1 million (FY2019), up 28.7 percent.”
Federal funding of local government in the nation’s capital is even more extensive, according to Open the Books.
“In Washington, D.C. (Mayor Muriel Bowser), we found 33 separate city agencies receiving federal funds: the district government ($2 billion), the Metropolitan Police Department ($3.8 million), the fire department ($5.7 million), emergency management ($18.5 million), the DC university ($76.4 million), housing authority ($125.6 million), and public schools ($996.4 million).
“Other D.C. units of government receiving federal money included human services ($54.3 million), employment services ($35.9 million), health department ($24.3 million), energy and environment ($7.3 million), consumer & regulatory affairs ($3 million), and the commission on the arts ($1.8 million).
“Since FY2016, federal funding into Washington, D.C. increased from $2.2 billion to $3.3 billion (FY2019), up 50 percent. (This comparison between the years does not account for a $4.5 billion in funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to an entity listed in the federal data as “Dist. of Col.” in FY2019.)”
When riots erupted in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House and elsewhere in the national capital in June, Trump criticized Bowser for “not locking down the city” as the protests turned violent.
Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc