The Biden administration is accusing House Republicans of wanting to “defund or abolish” law enforcement, taking a new spin on a hot-button topic that usually is supported by more progressive Democrats.
The White House is gearing up to claim that the House Freedom Caucus’s recently released budget would “make communities less safe” because it suggests cutting funding for 11,000 FBI personnel and freezing hiring at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, according to a statement obtained by Axios.
The slash in funding for the FBI and ATF follows the rhetoric of several top GOP lawmakers and certain committees claiming these agencies are weaponized to target conservatives. Since gaining a majority in the House, Republicans immediately began investigating the “weaponization of the federal government,” particularly focusing on the FBI and the Justice Department overall.
Some Republicans, such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), have called to abolish the FBI and Justice Department altogether.
“These same House Republicans who opposed the President’s bipartisan reforms and are now threatening to defund or abolish law enforcement agencies,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said in the statement.
The White House’s comments and the release of the Republicans’ budget comes ahead of a joint subcommittee hearing titled “ATF’s Assault of the Second Amendment: When is Enough Enough?” through the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). The hearing begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
Some Republicans are hoping to make significant spending cuts across the government as they work to negotiate raising the debt ceiling, which Congress hit on Jan. 19.
Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) said during a speech on the House floor that he and several GOP members are worried that new ATF rules under President Joe Biden, such as limits on pistol braces, could put gun owners in legal trouble.
“It’s going to render millions of Americans felons,” Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) said in an interview with Axios last month.
Since the Republicans began launching investigations left and right into the Biden administration, the White House has been actively pushing back, with officials slamming “MAGA Republicans” for their attempts to slash spending in key areas.
Each day this week, the White House is releasing information to show how people will be hurt under the House Freedom Caucus’s budget. Monday and Tuesday focused on cuts to police funding and healthcare, respectively. On Wednesday, the White House emphasized the cuts in incentives for manufacturing investments could undermine U.S. workers.
The White House is expected to focus on cuts to Medicare that would hurt seniors, a common attack from Biden that began during his State of the Union address, in which he goaded Republicans into publicly decrying his claims that GOP lawmakers wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.
Republicans have argued that if Biden will not agree to huge cuts across the board, they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling, which could lead to the United States defaulting on its debt. Congress has until this summer to raise the debt limit.