Rescue plan

Use US bailout funds to fight crime, Biden tells states

U.S. President Joe Biden during a speech in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 21, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, May 13 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden will urge state and local leaders on Friday to use more money from the $1.9 trillion U.S. bailout package to fight crime as cities brace for waves summer crime rates and the US Treasury releases billions more in funds.

The pandemic relief fund, passed by Democratic majorities in the US Congress and signed into law a year ago, was a landmark achievement of Biden’s first year in office. State and local governments have been allocated $350 billion to be released in two tranches, in May 2021 and this month.

Senior administration officials said about $10 billion of the bailout was used by state and local governments to bolster their police forces and support community programs aimed at keeping neighborhoods safe.

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Concern over crime and violence in the United States is at its highest level since 2016, according to an April Gallup poll, amid a rise in gun deaths in 2020. While some Democrats progressives called for defunding policing after a series of high-profile killings of black men by white officers, Biden pointed out he was spending more on police.

Biden wants communities to “put more police on the job — with the resources, training and accountability they need to engage in effective community policing,” the White House said.

Biden will meet on Friday with local elected officials, police chiefs and a community violence response expert from cities across America that have used bailout funds to help fight crime.

He will then deliver remarks in the Rose Garden noting state and local leaders who are using US bailout funding for security measures, and call on other state and local leaders to make similar investments quickly, the White House said. .

“President Biden finds the spike in gun violence that has affected communities across the country over the past year and a half unacceptable, and his administration is acting decisively to act with a whole-of-government approach as we enter the summer months when cities typically see a spike in violence,” the White House said.

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Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Heather Timmons and Stephen Coates

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