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Biden Will Discuss Gun Control and Crime in Pennsylvania Speech


WASHINGTON — For months, President Biden has tried to blunt attacks that he’s soft on crime by distancing himself from progressive calls to defund police departments. In a speech in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Mr. Biden is anticipated to take a page from his opponents’ playbook and accuse Republicans of not being the party of law and order.

During a visit to Wilkes-Barre, Mr. Biden will say he has made available billions of dollars to speculate in law enforcement agencies, in line with a White House official. He’ll highlight a bipartisan gun bill intended to forestall dangerous people from accessing firearms, a nod to certainly one of his recent legislative accomplishments ahead of the congressional elections in November.

Mr. Biden can also be prone to go on the offensive in a state holding pivotal elections for the House and Senate in addition to governor. His remarks come soon after some Republicans reacted with fury to the F.B.I.’s seek for classified documents in former President Donald J. Trump’s home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 8.

Some congressional Republicans, including members of leadership, called to “defund” and even “destroy” the federal law enforcement agency over the search, prompting others, including former Vice President Mike Pence, to warn the party against assailing law enforcement.

“We don’t consider in defunding the F.B.I.,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One on Tuesday.

The president “doesn’t consider in defunding for the police,” she said. “He believes in funding the police. That’s what you’ll hear from him today.”

Mr. Biden has long tried to distance his party from calls to defund the police — a message that grew from racial justice protests in 2020 demanding systemic changes in policing. Republicans seized on those calls, which Mr. Biden never espoused, to accuse his party of not doing enough to fight crime.

Later this week, Mr. Trump can also be expected to go to Wilkes-Barre to stump for Republican candidates.

“The agenda of Biden Democrats has left Pennsylvania communities less protected, and for this reason Pennsylvanians will probably be voting for a recent direction in November,” said Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.

On Tuesday, Mr. Biden will describe how his 2023 budget request includes funding to rent 100,000 recent officers. He may also again encourage state and native leaders to attract from $350 billion of funds to bolster local law enforcement. In a nod to Democrats who’ve called for more accountability of police departments, Mr. Biden will highlight pandemic relief funds which have paid for community-based violence prevention programs.

Still, some progressive Democrats have grown concerned that Mr. Biden’s emphasis on funding the police has come at the fee of investments in police reform and programs that empower community leaders and health officials to forestall crime with no police response.

“The history of funding policing in the USA is writing blank checks to the tune of billions of dollars with no accountability attached,” said Bree Spencer, senior program manager for justice reform on the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a legislative advocacy coalition. “That appears to be what we’re doing now, in order that by no means is indicative of police reform. That’s business as usual.”

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