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Stefanik supports federal plan to defund NYC, label it ‘anarchist’

Rep. Elise Stefanik delivers a speech for the Republican National Convention on the night of Aug. 26 remotely from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. (Screenshot from video)

North Country U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik said on Tuesday she supports President Donald Trump and the U.S. Department of Justice’s plan to cut federal funding from New York City; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington, three cities the DOJ designated as “anarchist jurisdictions” earlier this month.

DOJ Attorney General William Barr said if these cities do not spend as much money on their police departments as the federal government dictates, their federal grants will be withdrawn. The Trump administration has said it will not reduce funding for law enforcement in those cities but will focus on eliminating other funding.

Essentially, if they do not invest more in law enforcement, the federal government will not invest in them.

This plan is in response to city council votes to cut police spending and use those funds on other government programs, as well as refusal of National Guard intervention during large Black Lives Matter protests after police killings of unarmed Black people earlier this summer, and some district attorneys refusing to prosecute protesters for disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly.

Two months ago, the New York City Council approved a budget that cut $1 billion of the police department’s $6 billion annual budget.

In a memo to Barr, Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought wrote that the reasoning for the “anarchist jurisdiction” title is that the cities “permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities.”

Stefanik supports; Cobb condemns

“Has he overstepped his bounds?” “Fox and Friends”‘ Brian Kilmeade asked Stefanik Tuesday morning, regarding Trump.

“No,” the Republican from Schuylerville said. “We have seen the lawlessness in New York City.”

Stefanik said the city is “slashing support and funding for law enforcement” while shootings, rioting and looting “skyrocket.”

“The president has every right, and the Department of Justice should make sure that our cities are investing in our law enforcement,” Stefanik said.

She said the DOJ should only make investments in cities that are “holding up their end of the bargain” and support law enforcement.

Her Democratic opponent Tedra Cobb of Canton, who is running against Stefanik in the Nov. 3 election, responded to this statement.

“Elise Stefanik will do anything to distract herself from the job she is supposed to be doing — protecting healthcare coverage for people, especially those with preexisting conditions and standing up for our troops around the world,” Cobb wrote in an email.

Bad news for Big Apple

New York City residents have largely refuted the “anarchist jurisdiction” title. A New York Daily News article quoting residents shows them depicting life as normal, community groups helping neighbors and a general anger at the designation.

While crime as a whole is down this summer, some violent crime is up. Crime in the city as a whole has been on the decline since the early 1990s, according to FBI records. But this summer has seen fewer rape and grand larceny cases but more shootings and murders. In New York City there were 242 shootings in the month of August, more than double what there were in August 2019, according to the New York Times.

Police have attributed this to being spread thin while policing anti-police-brutality protests this summer. On Saturday, police arrested 86 protestors who blocked traffic in Times Square. The people were protesting Immigration and Customs Enforcement allegedly performing unconsensual and unnecessary hysterectomies on women in its facilities, which was reported by the Associated Press.

The amount of money to be withdrawn from these cities is not yet clear, but will likely be known by the end of the month.

New York City receives around $7.7 billion in federal grants annually, or around 9% of its budget.

State Attorney General Letitia James vowed to oppose this plan to withhold money in court earlier this week. She said Trump is “using the last few months of his presidency to sow more chaos, more hatred, and more fear,” and said the plan “hypocritically lays the groundwork to defund New York.”

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