Biden heads to Pennsylvania to detail his plan to ‘fund the police’
President Joe Biden is set to travel to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to speak about his plan to bolster police forces across the nation and reduce gun crime, which includes hiring and training 100,000 police officers over the next five years, according to the White House.
Biden will renew his push for a ban on assault weapons, a senior administration official told CNN, as the White House attempts to seize on the momentum spurred by Congress passing the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades earlier this summer.
In the key battleground state, the President will continue sharpening his political message to the American people ahead of this year’s crucial midterm elections that will decide which party controls the House and Senate. The President is expected to continue attacking what he calls the “extreme MAGA agenda” on the right and will argue it is “a threat to the rule of law” and out of step with most of the country, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
“He will say that you can’t propose defunding the FBI or defend the mob that stormed the Capitol and attacked and assaulted police officers on January 6 and be pro-police,” Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday during a White House briefing.
The White House has strongly condemned calls from some members of the Republican Party to “defund the FBI” in the wake of the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
Jean-Pierre said the President will speak on Tuesday about his belief that “when it comes to public safety in this nation, the answer isn’t to defund the police, it’s to fund the police.”
The President has repeatedly rejected calls from some Democrats and activists to “defund the police” and cut budgets to police departments and reallocate funding to social services to respond to non-violent crimes. The movement grew to national prominence following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020.
The President’s Tuesday visit to Pennsylvania will be the first of three appearances in the key battleground state over the next week. Biden is slated to deliver a primetime address in Philadelphia on Thursday and then scheduled to travel to Pittsburgh on Labor Day.
Biden’s unofficial midterm campaign kickoff took place last week, when he offered one of his sharpest rebukes of MAGA Republicans and told a group of Democratic donors that the “entire philosophy that underpins” the Make America Great Again agenda is “semi-fascism.”
The President was initially scheduled to unveil his “Safer America Plan” last month in Pennsylvania but his trip was postponed after he tested positive for Covid-19 the morning he was slated to fly to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
The plan calls for Congress to appropriate more than $10 billion in funding over five years for the COPS Hiring Program in order to help fund the hiring and training of the 100,000 additional police officers. The goal, the White House says, is to “advance effective, accountable community policing.”