The White House Thursday backed Vice President Joe Biden's efforts to pitch President Barack Obama's jobs bill by saying that failure to pass a provision to put first responders back to work would could result in more murders, rapes and crime.
Part of Obama's $447 billion American Jobs Plan would spend $35 billion to prevent layoffs of police officers, firefighters and teachers, whose jobs in cash-strapped localities and state governments are at risk.
Biden--a former U.S. senator who authored the 1994 COPS bill that beefed up the ranks of police officers -- has said that rapes and murders will continue to rise unless more police officers are on the beat. He used Flint, Mich., as an example, encouraging people to look at the numbers to see the rising crime rate since 2008.
He said at an October Capitol Hill rally that rape was up three times in Flint and that murder rates have doubled in the last year. He made similar comments last week in Michigan.
While Biden's numbers have been disputed, law enforcement officials in Flint told The Washington Post that they stand by the statistics -- some of which were not publicly available--they provided to the vice president's office.
Earlier in the week, Biden slammed opponents of the jobs bill who he claimed said that this is just temporary.
Give me a break, 'temporary,' Biden said, according to an ABC News report. I wish these guys that thought it's temporary, I wish they had some notion what it's like to be on the other side of a gun. Or a 200-pound-man standing over you telling you to submit. Folks, it matters. It matters.
Barrasso: Biden's Remark Over the Top
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Thursday that Biden was being over the top and that his comments were a sign of desperation, according to ABC News.
Biden's comments drew criticism from Republicans over his violent imagery used to sell a jobs plan, but White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended the idea that less cops on the beat means more crime. He also said that Obama agrees with Biden's assertion.
It would be hard to find anyone who doesn't agree with the simple equation that fewer police officers on the street has a direct effect on the crime rate, Carney told reporters during a Thursday press briefing. Having more law enforcement on the job, police officers on the job, would have a positive impact on crime. That's the point he was making.
Carney's comments were a prelude to the U.S. Senate blocking any chance of seeing that part of the jobs plan pass, as every Republicans and three Democrats voted to uphold a filibuster, 50 to 50, far from the 60 necessary to advance the bill.
To pay for the $35 billion in new funding, Democrats proposed increasing taxes by 5 percent on income that is more than $1 million.
Breaking up Obama's jobs bill into more palatable bits was a strategy to get recalcitrant Democrats on board and to force Republicans to take tough votes on provisions that were more popular than the package as a whole.
But funding for teachers and first responders, however, garnered even more opposition in the U.S. Senate than the entire jobs package.