Biden Claims Congressional Republicans Call for ‘Stopping Police Funding’
President Biden on Tuesday accused Republicans in Congress of “calling for … defunding the police” — a daring attempt to distance Democrats from such calls ahead of the 2024 election.
The 80-year-old president made the announcement during a meeting with survivors of the mass shootings in Monterey Park, Calif., as he tries to position himself as a tough crime fighter ahead of his pending re-election campaign.
“Republicans in Congress should pass my budget instead of calling for cuts in these [mental health] service or stop funding the police or abolish the FBI, as we hear from our Republican friends MAGA,” Biden said.
A spokesman for Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) accused Biden of trying to “divert attention from his frivolous budget,” which was released last week.
“The Democratic Party is the well-established party of the destructive Defend the Police movement and anti-crime policies that make cities across America less safe,” a spokesman for McCarthy said.
“After all, Vice President [Kamala] Harris supported bailing out the rioters in the summer of 2020, and 173 House Democrats voted to defend DC’s Radical Crime Bill, which Biden himself will repeal when he signs the bill written and championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives.”
While some Republicans have called for the FBI to be abolished in response to misconduct and perceived political bias in high-profile cases, this remains a minority position — and calls to stop police funding have typically come from Democrats, despite Republican opposition.
In addition, law enforcement funding is primarily the responsibility of local governments, not federal governments.
Biden’s accusation against Republicans comes just a week after Congress passed a Biden-backed bill to repeal D.C. Local Reform, which would have reduced some criminal penalties over objections from local officials and many Democrats in Congress who insisted that Biden respect D.C. self-government. . .
White House spokesman Andrew Bates provided The Post with a list of examples of Republicans in Congress supporting cuts in federal law enforcement or programs from the Trump administration through this year.
Examples include the Republican Party’s resistance to federal subsidies from the Justice Department’s policing program and Republican efforts to eliminate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
“The American people will not tolerate further law enforcement sabotage by the Republican Party,” Bates said.
“Republicans should reassure the nation that they will abandon their years of efforts to defund the police by targeting the COPS program created by President Biden as a senator, including in their budget.
“They should strongly condemn their colleagues who are calling for an end to funding for the FBI and ATF. And they need to join the gun crime agenda, finally abandoning opposition to the assault weapons ban, instead of trading AR-15 lapel pins and preferring the gun lobby over safer streets.”
But Biden’s announcement sparked widespread ridicule on social media, as well as alarm from Democrats, who saw the president trying to align his positions with those of Republicans.
“What is that pudding in that senile pudding???” Massachusetts Republican activist John Fetherston tweeted.
“I feel like Biden is further blurring the perceived differences between both sides for many people by taking this course with his rhetoric,” wrote another user.
Biden has consistently pushed for harsh criminal penalties during his 36 years in the Senate, drawing criticism from both the left and conservatives in the 2020 election.
Critics say laws written by Biden in the 1980s and 1990s contributed to the mass incarceration of minorities, even sending some people to prison for life for dealing marijuana.
Biden rolled out ahead of the 2020 election, making a yet-to-be-fulfilled promise to release “everyone” in jail for marijuana, as well as voicing support for the redirection of police funds.
Then-President Donald Trump stated in 2020 that “Biden wants to defund the police”, although the Biden campaign insisted he did not.
Trump pointed to the unity program negotiated by Biden and his Socialist rival Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The document does not use the term “prohibit funding”, but calls for “a policy that refocuses our approach to public safety towards prevention and avoiding excessive policing.”
In July 2020, Biden verbally committed to stealing funds from the police when an interviewer asked him, “But do we agree that we can divert some of the [police] financing?”
“Yes, absolutely,” Biden said.
During his last year in office, Trump sought to withhold federal funding from four Democratic-led cities, including New York and Washington, where local officials cut police funding or allegedly tolerated violent protests.
Biden canceled that order.
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