Bush Declares State of Emergency for Inauguration
President Bush has declared a state of emergency for the District during the Inauguration Jan. 17-21, Press Secretary Dana Perino said. The move will allow the federal government to provide funding to District government agencies, which have been swamped with planning and paying for security and transportation needs.
The federal government had given the District $15 million to help with the inauguration costs, but D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) had lobbied for more money. Fenty, along with Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D), recently asked the federal government for $75 million to cover the costs. No word on whether Virginia or Maryland will get extra federal money.
Up to 2 million people are expected to come to Washington, a city of about 580,000 people, to watch Barack Obama's inauguration Jan. 20. The all-time inauguration record is 1.2 million who watched Lyndon B. Johnson get sworn in in 1965.
Post homeland security reporter Mary Beth Sheridan reports that Fenty wrote a letter to Bush last week requesting the declaration and the funds. The state of emergency declaration does not mean the city is overwhelmed, Sheridan's sources said. The move is part of a reform effort enacted after Hurricane Katrina that allows the president to declare an emergency ahead of time in order to provide extra funding for security and other planning needs.
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