White House declares inauguration a D.C. emergency

January 13, 2009

WASHINGTON – It’s official. The inauguration is an emergency for the District of Columbia.


President George W. Bush declared the emergency Tuesday, a week before the Jan. 20 swearing-in of the 44th president, Barack Obama.

Millions of people are expected to swarm the streets of Washington on inauguration day. Streets will be closed, bridges open only to taxis and the like, and security will be tight.

“The president’s action makes federal funding available to the District of Colombia,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

The District will be eligible for federal funds for “emergency protective measures that are undertaken to save lives and protect public health and safety” during Jan. 17-21, she said.

It was a sign that inauguration-related costs for the district could be higher than the $15 million already appropriated by the federal government for emergency planning and security.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Inaugural parade rehearsals Sunday in front of the White House. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Derrick Brooks and U.S. Navy Yeoman First Class LaSean McCray stand in for Obama and his wife, Michelle)


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Bush . . . has turned the whole U.S. into a State of Emergency !

Posted by Tom Stevens | Report as abusive

How embarrassing. Hugely expensive coronation ceremonies at the cost of the citizens is usually something reserved to self-aggrandizing dictators.

Posted by Quark | Report as abusive

It does seem strange that Bush has declared a state of emergency. But they say it’s for the funding to pay for the inauguration.

So, who trusts that this emergency is just for funding, and they’re not planning something nasty?

Posted by Bill Thornton | Report as abusive

I wish to comment on Quark’s comment regarding the embarrassment he seems to feel at the inauguration expense. As a foreigner, what I see is the incredible NEED of Americans who under great financial stress see Mr. Obama as a kind of silver shining ELECTED knight who is about to dedicate his entire life to bringing America back to the bastion of democracy and freedom that the world used to look for in this nation. The past many years it has disappointed we foreigners and Americans alike at the ignorance and horrid arrogance of the Bush Years. This electoral change is truly a revolution in America and indirectly for the rest of the world as it will be proof that the small person, the voter, the minority brown person, the underprivileged can truly become as Obama has become..a leader, an intellect, a person that millions and maybe billions will remember for their lives as what we can hope to achieve in each of our societies. We have to await his Presidency to see if he can achieve a fraction of what people hope for him but I can see in his eyes that he will challenge all of us in each our own way to face up to what we need to do to make this a better world. He is already a historic figure. His inauguration is the glorious celebration of virtue over the entrenched power elilte. It ought to be a big blow out for the people of America…Congratulations to all of you! I am not embarrassed! I will celebrate across the continent along with another billion people.

Posted by Neil Fiertel | Report as abusive