Vice President Joe Biden addressed a reception of firefighters and law enforcement officials from around the country Monday evening, lamenting that budget cuts to public safety have created “a perfect storm” for those who remain.
“It used to be you were among the last to go, now you’re the first to go,” Biden told the gathering of about 100 in the foyer of the Naval Observatory, according to the White House pool report. “It’s really is – it’s kind of pernicious.”
“You end up with entire neighborhoods that become, you know, arson playgrounds, that get occupied by drug dealers, that get occupied by elements that are a blight on society. And y’all have to go in there,” the vice president said.
He stressed that the administration pushed for public-safety funding in the first stimulus bill, and criticized lawmakers who voted against funding local law enforcement agencies.
“They walked away because they didn’t like the way we were paying for it,” Biden said, referring to tax increases on upper income brackets.
“The first guy who’s going to have a problem is the guy whose $3 million home is on fire and you can’t get a truck out there. The first guy that’s going to have a problem is the person who has real assets and finds their house burglarized or robbed, or their Porsche is stolen,” Biden said.
“I’m not very subtle; I find it find absolutely beyond my understanding.”