Biden Denies GOP Criticism That Dems Soft on Crime

Biden Denies GOP Criticism That Dems Soft on Crime Joe Biden President Joe Biden answers questions after introducing his budget request for fiscal year 2023 on Monday. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Tuesday, 29 March 2022 10:57 AM

President Joe Biden dismissed any suggestion that portions of his new budget proposal are related to political pressure from Republicans who say Democrats are soft on crime.

Biden made his remarks on Monday as he released a budget blueprint that calls for higher taxes on the wealthy, more money for police, and greater funding for education, public health, and housing.

Biden proposed $5.8 trillion in federal spending in fiscal 2023, just less than what was projected to be spent this year before the supplemental spending bill was signed into law in March, The Associated Press said. The deficit would be $1.15 trillion.

On Monday, a reporter asked Biden about the budget's increased funding for police.

"Is any — is any of it related to political pressure from Republicans saying that Democrats are soft on crime that — you know, that you guys are careening to the left?" Biden was asked.

Biden replied: "Isn't it kind of fascinating?" he said. "When I first got elected, I was being beat up because I supported the police too much for the previous 30 years. No — it's what I think."

At another point, Biden specifically addressed the issue of defunding police.

"The answer is not to defund our police departments — it's to fund our police and give them all the tools they need, training, and foundation, and partners and protectors that our communities need," he said. "The budget put more police on the street for community policing so they get to know the community they're policing; allows the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the FBI to hire the agents they need to help fight gun crime and other violent crimes in our communities; and funds body cameras and makes sure police work with our local communities and are accountable to these communities.

"It funds crime prevention and community violence intervention, drug treatment, mental health, criminal justice reform, and reentry for people coming home after incarceration."

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