Mar 2, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden at State of the Union: "The answer is to fund the police"

President Joe Biden speaks during a State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden used his State of the Union speech to make clear that his vision of police reform includes more funding — not defunding — of police departments.

Why it matters: With crime rates threatening to hurt Democrats in the midterms, President Biden has been looking for ways to distance himself from progressives over how to combat crime without abandoning his campaign pledges.

What they're saying: "We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police," Biden said. "The answer is to fund the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities."

  • He noted that the American Rescue Plan provided $350 billion for local governments to hire more police and invest in "proven strategies like community violence interruption."
  • "So let’s not abandon our streets — or choose between safety and equal justice," he said. "Let’s come together to protect our communities, restore trust, and hold law enforcement accountable." 

Between the lines: His rhetoric may increase friction with some liberal colleagues — including Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and other members of the Squad.

The bottom line: Without federal legislation, the White House and Democrats in Washington will need to find a way to satisfy activists and organizers ahead of the midterms.

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