February 26, 2009 in Nation/World

Justice: Obama seeks to fulfill campaign pledge for police

Associated Press
 

Available details of President Barack Obama’s proposed government spending for the 2010 budget year that begins on Oct. 1. A more extensive budget outline is expected in April. In most cases, the figures are for discretionary spending and do not include mandatory entitlement programs like Social Security. The percentage change is based on what Obama wants to spend next year compared with what he anticipates the government will spend in 2009 once Congress completes appropriations for this year.

Agency: Justice

Spending: $23.9 billion

Change from 2009 estimate: 6.3 percent decrease

Highlights: The Obama administration’s first budget sought to keep a campaign promise to put 50,000 more police officers on the streets, as cash-strapped police departments are looking to trim costs.

Through a grant program called COPS, the government pays most of the salaries of new hires in their first years on the job. Democrats and Republicans have sparred for years over the program created during the Clinton administration and slashed during the Bush administration.

Obama’s 2010 budget does not say how long it would take to hire the 50,000 new officers. Recent Democratic efforts to hire that many new officers estimated it would take six years.

The agency said it is proposing to spend a total of $26.5 billion, but the budget document only shows $23.9 billion because officials expect to offset $2.5 billion of the spending with excess balances in the Crime Victims Fund, which is replenished by fines collected from corporations and individuals.

The administration’s initial budget proposal also pledges more money for federal agents hunting financial fraud, though they do not say how many or if those agents will be pulled from other duties.

The FBI would get nearly one of every four Justice Department dollars.

The Obama administration also proposed spending more on national security, civil rights enforcement, and border and immigration enforcement.

The budget also seeks to keep another, less-noticed Obama campaign promise; it would spend an additional $75 million to help ex-cons adjust to life outside prison, through counseling, job training, and drug treatment.

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