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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Biden Announces Criminal and Police Proposals

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President Biden planned to announce proposals on crime and policing on Thursday, an effort to show he is confronting violent crime while responding to Democrats’ desire to take action after recent mass shootings and failures. of police reform efforts in Congress.

Biden tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday morning and the White House initially did not say whether he still plans to share his proposals virtually from isolation.

Biden was scheduled to visit Wilkes-Barre, Pa., to draft a “Safer America Plan” that included more money for law enforcement to enable the hiring and training of 100,000 police officers for what the government calls “responsible community police”. to a statement from the White House and senior government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to preview the announcement.

At the same time, in an effort to seize the momentum of a bipartisan gun control bill passed last month, Biden was expected to propose nearly $3 billion to help communities clear backlogs in courts and solve murders; a $15 billion grant program to prevent violent crime and divert police resources in nonviolent cases; and $5 billion for community violence intervention programs.

Overall, the announcements underscore Biden’s efforts to balance liberals’ push for police reform and gun control with voters’ concerns about rising crime. With congressional elections looming in November, Republicans have reacted harshly to a report that Democratic city officials are trying to destroy or eliminate police forces.

Biden has looked for a middle ground. After some liberal activists adopted the slogan “defund the police” in the wake of the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop, Biden has made it clear that he believes reforms need more money, not less. “The answer is not to punish the police,” he said in May. “The answer is to fund the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.”

Biden’s proposals, which must be approved by Congress, amount to providing more details about his $5.8 trillion budget for 2023, revealed in March. Biden will not announce any new executive actions on Thursday, and he has acknowledged that recent gun laws, while incorporating major firearms restrictions in decades, have fallen far short of its ambitions following mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Tex.

Several proposals from Biden on Thursday where to focus on police interactions with people with disabilities or with a mental health crisis, for example by having law enforcement officers work with social workers or other professionals. A number of recent police shootings – or the deaths of people in police custody – have involved individuals struggling with mental health issues.

The president has continued to press Congress for further gun restrictions, including background checks on all gun sales, as well as a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Those measures have been rejected by Republicans and are unlikely to be passed in the near future.

Many liberals and Democratic voters are strongly in favor of greater gun control, and Americans have been deterred from mass shootings in recent months, making the issue a potentially resonating one. Pennsylvania, which includes liberal cities and conservative rural areas, is a critical state in the coming midterms.

Biden wanted to continue in the wake of the recent gun control bill, modest though it was, one of the senior government officials said.

“He didn’t want to elapse between that and what he proposed next,” the official said. “He wanted to seize the momentum, seize the moment to take it further.”

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