Comes as Biden has pushed back on calls to ‘defund the police’
President Joe Biden has asked state and local leaders to use money from his Covid-19 relief legislation to increasing spending for police forces across the country.
In a fact sheet released by the White House, the Biden administration announced that $10bn from the American Rescue Plan that passed last year were committed to public safety, with $6.5bn committed by more than half the states and more than 300 communities.
“While Congressional Republicans try to pull back this funding, President Biden is today renewing his call for communities to invest more American Rescue Plan funding in strategies to make our communities safer and to deploy as many dollars as possible before the summer months when many communities historically experience a seasonal increase in violent crime,” the fact sheet said.
The move is likely to rankle some of the left, in the wake of racial justice protests and calls for “defunding” or significantly reforming police forces.
In addition, the administration said the Treasury Department would release a second tranche of support for law enforcement support and the president will meet will mayors, chiefs of police and other community leaders to discuss how the money has assisted them.
Mr Biden’s actions come as Americans’ fears about crime are increasing. A Gallup poll from last month showed that for the first time since 2016, a majority of Americans say they worry “a great deal” about crime, making it the third largest concern behind inflation and the economy, respectively.
In addition, many Democrats fear that calls to defund the police during Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 and from more progressive lawmakers scared voters away from them and led to them losing a number of House seats.
During his State of the Union address in March, Mr Biden denounced those who called to reduce spending for police forces, which earned him a standing ovation.
“We should all agree: The answer is not to Defund the police. The answer is to fund the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities,” he said.