Biden Introduces Bill to Hire 1,000 More FBI Agents to Help Fight Crime
In order to address the shortage of FBI agents to combat violent crime, U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) today introduced legislation to add 1,000 FBI agents to focus exclusively on traditional criminal cases, such as drug trafficking and violent crime. This legislation will help ensure that the FBI has the resources to effectively achieve its counter-terrorism priorities, without abandoning its traditional crime fighting functions.
"Fighting terrorism is and should be a top priority for the FBI, but we can't forget about domestic crime - we have to walk and chew gum at the same time," said Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. "In the wake of 9/11, the FBI was right to shift its focus to preventing terror, but violent crime all across the nation is rising at startling rates. Overworked and overburdened FBI agents have been forced to cast aside a wide array of critical cases ranging from drug probes to violent street gangs to white collar investigations. FBI field agents need back up and this bill will help answer that call."
FBI Director Mueller recently testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the shortage of agents has "required difficult choices in determining how to most effectively use the available agents." This is having an impact, between 2001 and 2003, the FBI referrals for counterterrorism cases increased by 671 percent. During the same period the referrals for drug, white-collar, and violent crime matters all declined by 39 percent, 23 percent, and 10 percent respectively.
Unfortunately, the President's 2008 budget request does not do enough to address this concern. The President's budget shortchanges state and local law enforcement by $1.7 billion and does not request additional agents to focus on criminal cases. "It is imperative that FBI achieve its mandate of preventing terrorist attacks, but we can't turn a blind eye to traditional street crime and the very real threat it poses to our citizens. We can do both. To suggest the FBI's focus on terrorism comes at the expense of combating local crime is a false choice. The truth is we must protect Americans from all threats, whether it be a dirty bomb smuggled into the country in the belly of a cargo ship or the armed drug dealer on the street corner," added Senator Biden.
Sen. Biden's proposal will cost $160 million per year. To put in financial perspective, the Bush tax cut for millionaires, in comparison, costs $60 billion this year alone. Sen. Joe Biden has dedicated his career to fighting crime and protecting families. He is the author of the historic 1994 Crime Bill which helped reduce crime nationwide by allowing local police departments across the country to hire more than 100,000 new police officers through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. In addition, Sen. Biden has pushed for the creation of a Homeland Security Trust Fund. This legislation would create a dedicated fund for the implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, restoration of funding for local law enforcement and make other critical homeland security upgrades.