After New York City Ramming Attack, McCaskill Continues Push to Prevent Cuts to Counterterrorism Programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today wrote the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeking information on whether grant programs targeted for major cuts were used to respond to the recent terrorist attack in New York City in which a vehicle was used to ram into a crowded bicycle lane killing eight people.

In a letter to Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke, McCaskill questions whether a risk analysis had been conducted prior to cuts to multiple counterterrorism programs proposed in the Administration’s 2018 budget, as well as how those programs had been brought to bear in preventing or responding to previous terrorist attacks inside the United States.

“We’ve seen both at home and abroad that terrorists are turning to motor vehicles to target innocent people on the street—and we’ve got communities in Missouri and other states that need federal resources to keep their citizens safe,” McCaskill said. “Resources that were used in New York or across the country to prevent or respond to terrorist attacks shouldn’t be on the chopping block.”

In her role leading the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, McCaskill has repeatedly raised concerns over proposed Administration cuts to these and other similar programs. A report issued by the Committee earlier this year highlighted the impact of the Administration’s proposed $582.8 million in cuts from critical counterterrorism programs that DHS administers.

“Cuts of this magnitude hinder communities’ abilities to protect Americans from terrorist attacks and keep our country safe,” McCaskill wrote to Duke. “These programs not only help our nation’s largest cities, like New York City and Washington, D.C., but also smaller metropolitan areas like those in my own state of Missouri….I am concerned that the Administration would cut these programs without an adequate understanding of their use in preventing and responding to terror attacks.”

McCaskill’s letter to Duke is available online HERE.