NY Post: Rep. John Katko leading effort on bill to provide security funding for 9/11 Museum ahead of 20th anniversary
September 10, 2021 by Juliegrace Brufke
New York Republican Rep. John Katko is leading the charge on legislation to provide one-time grant funding to ramp up security at New York’s 9/11 Memorial and Museum — warning that a lack of tourism during the pandemic has left Ground Zero under-funded to protect against security threats.
Katko, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the anticipated rise in threats against the country following the fall of the Afghan government warrants action from Congress to assure the memorial remains secure.
“After being at the 9/11 Museum the last couple of days with my wife and my colleagues, you realize just the absolute sheer importance of that museum staying open and being a beacon for people never forgetting what happened on 9/11, and it’s incumbent upon us to try and help them,” he told The Post in an interview.
“The security costs associated with this because of the bad guys still wanting to do harm to us or do harm to that place are profound. And so if we can help them out to get them on the right track in the short term, so they’ve been on a good footing going forward I think it’s incumbent on us to do so.”
The one-time grant would provide funding somewhere between $5,000,000 and $10,000,00, which would largely be allocated toward security, with some of the funds being put toward operation and maintenance costs.
“The security for the museum is close to a million dollars a month, just for security. It’s a huge cost generator for them and it’s not their fault that they have to pay so much for security. There’s not a lot of waste going on with that place, it’s just a lot of private funding,” he continued.
“But given the fact that last year they had to shut down most of the year and weren’t able to generate a lot of visitor revenue, and the costs for security are going up because of the increased threat environment, I think it’s reasonable for us to help them get on the path of sustainability.”
The bill — which is also being backed by Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) — was introduced just one day ahead of the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attack that led to the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans.
“The biggest thing isthis is a monumental, one of the most devastating attacks our country’s experienced. It’s likened to the Pearl Harbor Memorial — we would never let that thing go belly up and we should never let this thing either,” Katko said.
“We’re not asking to pay for anything of extravagance, we’re simply asking to pay for security so it can remain open and safe for everyone.”
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