By James Murphy
After a multi-year drumbeat of Democrats and far left-wing activists calling for defunding police departments across America, President Joe Biden is now set to press Congress for a new $37 billion plan to fund increased policing across the nation. Biden was set to announce the details of his Safer America Plan during a visit to Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, today, but that visit was delayed when the president tested positive for Covid-19.
Said to be included in Biden’s Safer America Plan is $13 billion over the next five years for local police forces to hire and train 100,000 new officers. Biden also seeks $3 billion to be used to clear court backlogs, resolve murder cases, and create task forces to address gun violence.
The Safer America Plan is also said to include $15 billion for a grant program called “Accelerating Justice System Reform.” This program would allow states to use those funds to develop strategies for preventing violent crimes and create programs with a public-health focus designed to lessen police burdens when it comes to nonviolent situations.
Yet another $5 billion would be earmarked to create programs designed to stop crime before it occurs.
The president plans to ask for these funds as part of his 2023 budget proposal. Congress doesn’t really pass budgets anymore; instead it has relied on a series of continuing resolutions that include appropriations for the next budget year.
“President Biden knows what works to make our communities safer: investing in community policing and crime prevention,” declared a White House statement on Thursday. “We need to fund police who walk the beat, know the neighborhood, are accountable to those they are sworn to serve, and build community trust and safety.”
“Defund the police” became a common mantra for Democrats in 2020 in the wake of the death of convicted criminal George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody. Democrats saw a future in which police were replaced by social workers who might go in to de-escalate deadly situations.
Since 2020, several American cities have caved in to demands from left-wing agitators and done just that — defunded their police at least partially. Among those cities are Minneapolis, which was in the crosshairs of the George Floyd outrage; New York City, which under former Mayor Bill de Blasio cut $1 billion from the city’s police budget, including a $352.2 million cut in uniform and civilian personnel overtime; and Portland, Oregon, which cut $15 million from the police budget, far less than the $50 million that anti-police agitators had asked for.
Several other crime-ridden cities, including Austin, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia, slashed police budgets as well.
Crime has spiked in all of these cities and, indeed, the nation as a whole in the past two years, and Democrats have been running from the idea of “reimagining” law enforcement ever since. In February of this year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi addressed the situation. When asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos about “Squad” member Cori Bush’s repeated calls to defund the police, Pelosi said: “With all due respect in the world to Cori Bush … that is not the position of the Democratic Party.”
Pelosi would go on to declare: “Defund the police is dead.”
Two weeks later, in Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, the president concurred, saying, “We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them.”
Bush and other far-left politicians didn’t agree.
“With all due respect, Mr. President, you didn’t mention saving Black lives once in this speech. All our country has done is given more funding to police. The result? 2021 set a record for fatal police shootings. Defund the police. Invest in our communities,” Bush said.
Unfortunately for Pelosi and Biden, their recent pro-police rhetoric has not registered with voters, who polls show still trust the GOP more than Democrats on public safety issues — by a wide margin. It’s hard for them to trust a party when many of its members are still clinging to the “defund the police” mantra, which the American public clearly abhors.
Plus, although it may appear that the prospect of a disastrous midterm election has caused leftists such as Pelosi and Biden to abandon their core principles in order to gain votes, that is not necessarily the case.
One of the main goals of the “defund the police” movement is to replace local funding and control of police with federal funding and control on the way to establishing a national police force.
Thus, re-funding police with federal funds actually fits right in with Pelosi’s, Biden’s, and the far Left’s core principles and agenda.