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White House highlights crime prevention money as a request Republicans could support


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden views crime prevention funding as a place where the White House and congressional Republicans can strike a deal, Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said in an interview.

“We think it’s absolutely possible to have bipartisan legislative accomplishments from the pieces he presents in this budget,” Young said. “One thing that comes to mind is safer communities. It shouldn’t be controversial, it should be bipartisan, to agree that we should have more cops on the job in this country. »

Biden, in his presidency’s third budget proposal that was released on Thursday, outlined spending priorities.

And while many of the president’s proposals don’t work for Republicans, there are several areas where the White House sees potential for a bipartisan deal, including rail safety and crime prevention, Young said.

House Republicans are expected to release their budget next month, a move that could spark more serious talks with the White House. So far, Biden has only met once with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, who has called for spending cuts and a focus on deficit reduction.

Young described Biden’s plan to cut the $3 trillion deficit, which he would achieve by raising taxes Republicans oppose on businesses and wealthy Americans, as “the start of a dialogue.” .

The president’s budget also includes increased funding for rail safety — $1.5 billion for rail safety improvement grants, for example — Young said, as concerns about the problem grow after the derailment in eastern Palestine, Ohio.

“And it doesn’t stop at the budget,” Young said. “We want to work with Congress on bipartisan legislation to make sure these railroads operate safely in these communities. This should not happen in this country.

The White House’s focus on the President’s budget has changed this year as Biden is expected to announce a 2024 re-election bid. 182 pages, focuses on some politically charged issues that were not mentioned in the one distributed last year, including Medicare, Social Security, Republican positions, border security and immigration.

In another change from previous Biden budgets, this year’s does not allocate funds specifically to fight Covid-19. Instead, Biden is asking for $20 billion for broader pandemic preparedness.

At the same time, the president is asking for more funds to deal with the southern border, including a proposed $4.7 billion emergency fund designed to enable Customs and Border Protection and the ICE to access money based on migration flows at the border.

“We’re saying to Congress, give us tools, triggers, so if migration patterns change, money is released so we can manage the border properly,” Young said.

As the White House views the president’s budget as an opening salvo in federal spending negotiations, Biden maintains his hardline stance that he will not negotiate in Congress to raise the debt ceiling to cover the money that the government has already spent.

The United States is expected to reach the current limit in August and would default on its debt if Congress does not pass legislation to increase that amount.

When asked if she could guarantee that the United States would not default, Young declined to do so.

“We need Congress to do their homework to make sure this doesn’t happen,” she said. “That’s why this president has been very clear that there’s a time and a place to talk about appropriations process spending. We do that every year. … What we shouldn’t do is is to drag down the American economy, the world economy, by playing politics.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.