President Joe Biden today revoked former President Trump’s memo which ordered federal agencies to withhold federal grant dollars from arbitrarily designated “anarchist jurisdictions.” The cities of Seattle, New York and Portland quickly filed a lawsuit challenging the former President’s act and the subsequent Notice in the Federal Register announcing the designation would be a factor in specific grant applications.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said, “Our coalition’s comprehensive complaint achieved what it set out to do: stop the Trump Administration’s effort dead in its tracks. A small part of me would relish seeing our disgraced former President lose again in court, but I much prefer seeing President Biden undo his predecessor’s will with a stroke of his pen. I’m glad to have this nonsense cleared from the decks considering my office has no shortage of litigation to manage, from the eviction moratorium to hazard pay for frontline workers. Onward.”
“Fortunately, Seattle no longer has to face the insanity of a President who governs by Twitter or political threats. President Trump’s baseless lawsuits targeted our city for standing up for immigrants, civil rights, and democracy as he further divided our country with hate,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Instead of attempting to withhold all federal funding from Seattle like the previous administration, President Biden has proposed more support for cities to help our residents and small businesses at this unprecedented time.”
“The Biden Administration’s approach to righting the wrong-headed action of the prior administration is the first of many actions we can expect from this President, which is intended to categorically delegitimizing today’s civil rights movement for Black lives to advance,” said Council President M. Lorena González. “I remain committed to transformational change for the nearly 700,000 people I represent in an effort to ensure all our residents are able to access federal funding, during a COVID-19 recession, for much needed transit, affordable housing, education and human services.”
Federal funding is a significant portion of the City of Seattle’s 2020 Adopted Budget. Seattle has budgeted for over $236 million in federal grants for the fiscal year. For COVID-19 response in 2020 and beyond, the City was awarded $177 million of federal grants. These federal grants largely consist of grants for social programs, transportation, and Coronavirus Aid.
The cities of Seattle and Portland have previously prevailed against the Trump Administration’s similar attempt to withhold congressionally appropriated grant dollars in retaliation for policies that support and welcome immigrant and refugee communities.
Seattle City Attorney’s Office Civil Division Director Jessica Nadelman and Assistant City Attorney Carolyn Boies developed the lawsuit on behalf of the City of Seattle.