Bill Would Reimburse $59 Million For Local Inauguration Security

Police fill Pennsylvania Avenue during the inauguration last month, which drew an estimated 1.8 million people.
Police fill Pennsylvania Avenue during the inauguration last month, which drew an estimated 1.8 million people. (By Justin Sullivan -- Getty Images)
By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The federal government would provide $59 million to compensate the District, Maryland and Virginia for their security costs for the presidential inauguration and other national events, under a spending bill unveiled yesterday, officials said.

Officials from the three jurisdictions had estimated their costs for law enforcement, transportation, medical and other services for the inauguration at $75 million. The swearing-in of President Obama drew an estimated 1.8 million people, which officials called the largest event ever in Washington.

The appropriations bill would set aside $39 million for the D.C. government for costs related to the inauguration and other national events. An additional $20 million would be available for Maryland and Virginia for inauguration expenses, officials said.

The bill is expected to be considered in the House this week and is not open to amendments, House officials said.

"I am proud of the role Maryland played in making this inauguration such an historic and joyful occasion for the nation," Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) said in a statement. "But just as in other parts of the country, the economic downturn means Maryland has fewer resources and greater needs."

She said that she and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) fought to have the reimbursement funds for Maryland and Virginia inserted into the Commerce, Justice and Science section of the giant appropriations bill. The D.C. money was in a separate part of the legislation dealing with federal spending for the city.

The bill also would give the District $109 million for school improvements, college tuition support and other educational expenses, according to a release from Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.), who heads the House Appropriations subcommittee that handles D.C. issues. That is $35 million more than the amount for D.C. education awarded in last year's spending bill, he said.

The spending package combines nine annual appropriations bills that weren't passed last year. The legislation funds government activities through the end of September.

The governors of Maryland and Virginia and the D.C. mayor wrote to Congress in December requesting extra funds to cover their outlays for the inauguration. Congress last year gave the District $15 million to cover expenses for the inauguration and other national events. The federal government also made the city eligible for emergency funding.

Mikulski said it was not yet clear how Maryland and Virginia would divide the $20 million provided in the bill.

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