President Biden’s 2023 Budget Increases Funding for Police

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President Biden’s 2023 budget plan, released Monday, increases funding for the police, cementing his party’s turn away from the anti-police rhetoric and policies many lawmakers and activists embraced after the murder of George Floyd two years ago.

The plan sent to Congress allocates more than $32 billion to fighting crime, especially violent crime, with $20.6 billion going to the Department of Justice and $3.2 billion in discretionary resources for funding local and state law enforcement, much of it in the form of grants to hire more police officers. About $30 billion in mandatory resources will be funneled to “support law enforcement, crime prevention, and community violence intervention.”

The proposal directs $17.4 billion, an increase of $1.7 billion above the 2021 amount, for DOJ law enforcement. That sum includes $1.7 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to crack-down on gun-trafficking. U.S. Attorneys will be given $72.1 million to prosecute violent crimes.

While the budget appears to be aimed at boosting police numbers and resources to tackle crime, it does so while treating national gun proliferation as a primary culprit, promising to “increase regulation of the firearms industry, enhance ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, and modernize the National Tracing Center.” The plan also emphasizes police accountability, acquiescing to progressive pressure after the wave of social justice riots during the summer of 2020 that alleged widespread police brutality. For example, the budget proposes $106 million “to support the deployment of body-worn cameras (BWC) to DOJ’s law enforcement officers, as well as an impact evaluation to assess the role of BWC in advancing criminal justice reform.”

The budget will also help facilitate the implementation of the First Step Act, distributing $100 million for an inmate rehabilitation project with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), DOJ, and DOL to “provide comprehensive workforce development services to people in the Federal prison system.”

“Budgets are statements of values, and the budget I am releasing today sends a clear message that we value fiscal responsibility, safety and security at home and around the world, and the investments needed to continue our equitable growth and build a better America,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

The proposal also slaps a new minimum tax on billionaires and allocates new spending to bolster Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion, as well as to aid the country’s response to the resulting humanitarian crisis.

With this plan, the Biden administration claims the government is positioned to cut its budget by $1.3 trillion this year, the largest one-year decrease in U.S. history, attributing the reduced deficit to the American Rescue Plan and strong economic recovery in 2021.

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