Vice President Biden Monday suggested Republicans favored low taxes for the wealthy over policies that would save the lives of police officers and firefighters.
Biden spoke at a dinnertime gathering at his official Washington residence, where he hosted more than 100 federal, state and local police officers and firefighters.
According to the press pool report from the event, Biden tied cuts in federal funding for local fire and police departments to a resistance to paying for the spending by raising taxes for the wealthy. The vice president was clearly referring to Republicans, who are regularly accused by the White House of unjustly supporting tax breaks for the well off.
From the pool report:
“You’re stuck in a God-awful mess, and so It doesn’t make sense to us that that would be happening at a time when the need for y’all actually would be increasing,” Biden said, adding that was why the administration pushed for added public safety spending in the first recovery act.
Biden referred to lawmakers who always vote against funding for local law enforcement. “At least they’re consistent,” he said, rapping those who stopped supporting the funding in tight fiscal times.
“They walked away because they didn’t like the way we were paying for it,” Biden said, referring to tax increases on the rich.
Biden suggested that the resulting decrease in hiring gets police officers and firefighters killed.
Biden said it’s a question of public safety, but also of first responder safety.
“There’s one thing we know: the more cops on the street, the fewer cops get killed. The more firefighters responding to a fire, the fewer injuries to the firefighters, because you have each other’s backs,” Biden said.
Biden also launched into a gratuitous attack on the rich, mocking them and saying they would suffer even more than others for what he regards as short-sighted Republican policies.
“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 absolutely beyond my understanding.”
Though Biden’s remarks were partisan and clearly designed to curry political favor with firefighters and police, the gathering was billed as an official event and paid for by taxpayers.