Obama Inauguration Declared ‘Emergency’

Next Tuesday’s inauguration, scheduled in 1789, has been declared a federal emergency.

President Bush on Tuesday declared the District a federal emergency area, clearing the way for the city to receive federal money to help cover the overwhelming cost of providing security for official inauguration events. Officials said it was the first time the designation had ever been used for anything other than a national disaster, such as a hurricane or widespread flooding.

Because the law never intended it to be used otherwise, perhaps?

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said Tuesday night that D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty had requested the declaration of the city as an emergency zone last week. Preliminary planning for the inauguration had not taken into account the likelihood of unprecedented crowds, now expected to run as high as 1.5 million to 2 million people, Mr. Stanzel said. “Because of this anticipated influx of people, declaring an emergency permits the federal government to provide additional requested support … to ensure that the inauguration is not only safe and secure, but that the health and well-being of visitors is preserved,” he said.

But, um, they originally expected upwards of 4 million people, according to a front page story in the Washington Post two months ago. People were hoping to get rich by renting out their homes and apartments to suckers coming in for the inauguration, only to see that plan collapse.

Of course, this is the same administration who has, for seven years running, failed to foresee that two ongoing wars would cause an additional strain on the budget and therefore had to rely on emergency appropriations to fund them.

via memeorandum

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. ap says:

    easily the most snark-able news story of my lifetime.

  2. Bithead says:

    Of course, this is the same administration who has, for seven years running, failed to foresee that two ongoing wars would cause an additional strain on the budget and therefore had to rely on emergency appropriations to fund them.

    IN fairness, at least it can be argued that a war is by definition an emergency action.

  3. Dantheman says:

    “IN fairness, at least it can be argued that a war is by definition an emergency action.”

    In fairness, that applies to the first year of a war, not the fifth.

  4. Triumph says:

    Of course, this is the same administration who has, for seven years running, failed to foresee that two ongoing wars would cause an additional strain on the budget and therefore had to rely on emergency appropriations to fund them.

    They also failed to protect the US from multiple terrorist attacks.

  5. Dodd says:

    Next Tuesday’s inauguration, scheduled in 1789, has been declared a federal emergency.

    Technically, it was “scheduled” on October 15, 1933, pursuant to Sec. 5 of the just-ratified Twentieth Amendment. Nevertheless, very droll..

  6. Michael says:

    But, um, they originally expected upwards of 4 million people, according to a front page story in the Washington Post two months ago.

    But presumably the city’s planning started nearly a year ago, and was already being implemented two months ago. How many did they expect when they put together the plan? The implication of this action is that it was significantly less than 1.5 million.

    I’m guessing that there isn’t currently any better mechanism for the city to get this kind of help on such short notice, but wonder why it wasn’t asked for two months ago when it could have been appropriated by the Congress.

    IN fairness, at least it can be argued that a war is by definition an emergency action.

    Um, no, because like Dantheman said, it is not longer emergent in the fifth year. In fact, it’s pretty well predictable that, by the fifth year, there is going to be a minimal cost.

    I don’t think James would complain if they used emergency funding requests to fund unforeseen needs, but they have been using them to fund things they knew when the budget was created that they were going to need money for.

  7. James Joyner says:

    Technically, it was “scheduled” on October 15, 1933, pursuant to Sec. 5 of the just-ratified Twentieth Amendment. Nevertheless, very droll.

    Thanks. And, yes, the technicality had occurred to me as well but I thought it funnier the other way.

  8. Bithead says:

    Um, no, because like Dantheman said, it is not longer emergent in the fifth year. In fact, it’s pretty well predictable that, by the fifth year, there is going to be a minimal cost.

    Without looking, I’ll ask: Did FDR consider WWII’s four years and it’s funding requirements an emergency, I wonder?

  9. Michael says:

    Without looking, I’ll ask: Did FDR consider WWII’s four years and it’s funding requirements an emergency, I wonder?

    Without looking, I’d think he didn’t. The immediate response after Pearl Harbor might have been. I would hope he wasn’t requesting “emergency funds” for recurring costs of the war effort throughout it’s duration.

  10. tom p says:

    Without looking, I’ll ask: Did FDR consider WWII’s four years and it’s funding requirements an emergency, I wonder?

    Back then, wars were funded on a “pay as you go” basis, hence all the war bond drives.