Former Vice President Joe Biden will not make defunding the police part of his 2020 platform.
Calls to defund police departments have risen amid nationwide protests against police brutality, with activists and even some lawmakers saying police department budgets should be slashed in favor of community-oriented programs and oversight. A campaign spokesperson for Biden said Monday that the presumptive Democratic nominee "does not believe that police should be defunded," and instead called for "reform."
Biden's statement called for "increased funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing." Biden also supports funding for "community policing programs," "diversifying police departments," and "body-worn cameras."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) avoided explicitly supporting calls to defund police on Monday. Pelosi called choosing to reroute police funding to other community-centered action a "local decision," but added "that doesn't mean we're going to pile more money on to further militarize police."
Pelosi's comments came after the Democratic leaders unveiled their Justice in Policing Act on Monday, which is full of reforms that would affect police departments nationwide. The bill has more than 200 co-sponsors in the House and Senate so far, but none of them are Republicans.