In keeping with his calls to fund the police, President Joe Biden’s proposed budget announced Monday includes $17.4 billion for federal law enforcement to combat violent crime, $1.7 billion above the 2021 enacted level.
During his State of the Union address this month, Biden drew support from Republicans and Democrats when he said: “We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to fund the police.”
Bipartisan efforts at police reform have failed, and Republicans have sought to tie Democrats to the “defund the police” movement and portray them as weak on handling crime in the run-up to the midterm elections. Biden’s proposal directly addresses those attacks. It calls for “strategies such as community policing” to address crime prevention and intervention.
The budget includes $1.7 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to fight illegal gun trafficking; $1.8 billion to help the U.S. Marshals Service apprehend fugitives; $69 million for the FBI to support its investigations of violent crime, including those against children and in Indian Country; and $72.1 million to prosecute violent crimes.
Biden has repeatedly sought to distance himself from the defund the police movement, which took off after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020. With his proposal, he is attempting to convey his plans to address violent crime.
Biden visited New York City Police Department headquarters in February, where he was joined by Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain, shortly after the fatal shooting of two on-duty police officers.
“The answer is not to defund the police,” Biden said during his visit. “It’s to give you the tools, the training, the funding to be partners, to be protectors.”
Janelle Griffith is a national reporter for NBC News focusing on issues of race and policing.