A federal Homeland Security Trust Fund is backed by a key Senate Democrat, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware. In an op-ed article in the Chicago Sun-Times, Biden suggested setting aside “less than one year of the tax cut for millionaires” to “invest an additional $10 billion a year to improve public safety and domestic security.” Biden has been serving as the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs; he presumably would head the panel when the Democrats take control of the Senate next week. The International Association of Chiefs of Police last week endorsed a new trust fund for law enforcement and homeland security.
Citing the recent rise in U.S. violent crime, Biden said that the Bush administration, “While focusing exclusively on fighting terrorism abroad [has] left us vulnerable at home by slashing billions from federal crime-prevention assistance for state and local law enforcement and underfunding the FBI.” Noting that the FBI has had to make work against violent crime a priority far below terrorism, Biden said, “This is a false choice. The FBI’s focus on terrorism does not need to come at the expense of combatting local crime.” The senator contended that the U.S. “can easily afford to give our law enforcement officials the tools they need if we change our priorities.” He noted that the tax cut for Americans earning more than $1 million will cost $60 billion, and the FBI budget is under $6 billion.