Biden’s Latest Step to Defund Police

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Republican lawmakers from the Senate Banking Committee are urging President Joe Biden to reconsider two nominations for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) based on “troubling statements” they have made regarding law enforcement.

In a letter to the president, ranking committee member Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and his colleges urged President Biden to withdraw the nominees as a demonstration to the public that his administration is “serious about distancing itself from radical and anti-police movements.”

Solomon Greene, who was nominated by President Biden to serve as assistant secretary for policy development at HUD, co-authored an article last summer in which he argued that “too many families of color live in neighborhoods suffering from disinvestment, deprived of quality services and amenities, and endangered by over-policing.”

Greene is also said to have tweeted, “No more money for the police,” though the post has been deleted.

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Julia Gordon, who was nominated by President Biden to serve as assistant secretary for the office of housing commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration, argued that police departments are systemically racist while serving as president of the National Community Stabilization Trust last summer.

“Mr. Greene and Ms. Gordon’s statements disparaging police officers and advocating for defunding the police are deeply disappointing and call into question their fitness to serve in senior positions in the federal government,” wrote Toomey. “Police officers put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect us. They deserve to be supported – not maligned – by federal officials.”

Staffing HUD should be a priority as local governments struggle to distribute federal aid dollars to tenants and landlords ahead of an eviction crisis, but nominating individuals like Greene and Gordon significantly undermines the Biden Administration’s support for police officers at a time when they need it most.

I’m not sure that any official who questions the need for police can be trusted to make intelligent policy decisions, though one such individual has already been confirmed.

President Biden nominated Kristen Clarke to lead the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department despite her public support to cut police budgets. She is the first woman and the first black woman to hold the position. She was confirmed on the 1-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death with a vote of 51-48. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) was the only Republican to vote in Clarke’s favor.

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