The Inauguration – First “Non-Disaster” Emergency

On Tuesday, Bush declared Obama’s inauguration an emergency. This move will help foster additional federal money to help Washington cope with the huge crowds that are expected to turn out for the ceremony next Tuesday, where Obama will become the nation’s first black president.

The government has set aside $15 million to help pay for security and medical personnel. But Mayor Adrian M. Fenty asked for more money, citing possible crowds of 1.5 million to 2 million and “the associated stresses that it would place on the city’s capabilities, particularly the medical community,” said Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for Bush. Forecasters predict that snow could add to the day’s complications.

The city has projected its tab for the inauguration at $47 million, about three times as much as Congress has given the District. The president’s power to declare a state of emergency is typically used after natural disasters, although Mr. Stanzel said presidents had occasionally declared emergencies before an anticipated event. But never before, he said, has an advance declaration been used for a “non-disaster.”

Sources: The Washington Post and The New York Times

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