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- Beasley’s campaign cited massive appropriations bills from 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018.
- Budd says his opposition was unrelated to North Carolina’s law-enforcement funding, which accounted for a small fraction of each bill’s total spending.
- Beasley’s math on the funding was also a little off.
The Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s open U.S. Senate seat says her Republican opponent doesn’t follow through on promises to support the police.
Cheri Beasley, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, is running against Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd for the seat that will soon be vacated by retiring Sen. Richard Burr. In a debate hosted by Spectrum News on Oct. 7, Budd accused Beasley of being soft on crime.
Beasley fired back: "Congressman Budd, who talks about being a friend of the police, on four separate occasions voted against funding for police here in North Carolina to the tune of more than $32 million."
Did Budd really vote against bills that provided funding to North Carolina law enforcement agencies?
Beasley’s campaign cited Budd’s vote against several appropriations bills that fund federal government operations for the coming fiscal year. It’s fair to point out that the bills ultimately benefited North Carolina law enforcement agencies.
However, Beasley’s claim is misleading in multiple ways:
Her math was off. By her own campaign’s count, state agencies received $32 million — not across four appropriations bills, but five.
The bills were massive. The bills directed money to numerous federal projects and agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice. The department then awarded money to North Carolina law enforcement agencies through three separate grant programs during those four fiscal years.
Budd says he opposed the bills for reasons unrelated to North Carolina’s law-enforcement funding, which accounted for a small fraction of each bill’s total spending.
"It’s a classic D.C. parlor game of trying to force members to vote for something 95% bad just to get the 5% good, and Ted does not play that game," Jonathan Felts, Budd’s senior adviser, said in an email.
Budd opposed the bills because their price tags were too big or because they didn’t do enough to secure the border, Felts said.
"Ted has always been very transparent that he opposes running up the federal debt, no matter if it’s a Republican president or a Democrat president," he said.
The Beasley campaign cited Budd’s opposition to bills enacted for fiscal years ending in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017. The bills, each signed by then-President Donald Trump, featured different top-line spending items and enjoyed varying levels of support from Congress.
Funding for police officers is primarily done locally, not through Congress. Federal lawmakers do, however, set budgets for programs that offer grants to local government agencies — and that’s what the Beasley campaign is citing here.
Each of the bills funded the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant program, the leading federal source of criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety also received funds through the DOJ’s Anti-Heroin Task Force, which finances investigations into the unlawful opioid distributions, as well as its Anti-Methamphetamine Program, which provides financial assistance to law enforcement agencies in states with high rates of methamphetamine seizures.
The Justice Department’s Award Announcement Map webpage allows users to search for grants issued to North Carolina through the anti-heroin and anti-meth programs.
Here’s a brief summary of the bills, the political drama surrounding each one, and the funding it provided to North Carolina law enforcement agencies.
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021: The House held two votes to pass different parts of this bill: voting 327-85 and then 359-53 with Budd voting no both times. The Senate then passed it 92-6 and Trump signed it into law in late 2020. The bill featured a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package and $1.4 trillion to fund federal government operations through September 2021. The Beasley campaign noted that the justice assistance and anti-heroin programs then provided a combined $7.1 million to North Carolina law enforcement agencies for fiscal year 2021.
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020: The House passed this bill 280-138, with Budd voting no, and the Senate supported it 81-11 before Trump signed it in late 2019. It included $1.4 trillion to fund federal government operations through the next September. Among other things, it boosted funding for the military and aside nearly $1.4 billion fencing along the southern U.S. border. The Beasley campaign said the bill provided a combined $6.6 million for North Carolina law enforcement agencies through the justice assistance, anti-heroin and anti-meth programs.
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019: Trump signed this spending plan into law in February 2019 after a record 35-day funding lapse forced 800,000 federal workers to go without paychecks through Christmas and much of January, The Washington Post reported. It included $333 billion for federal government operations but didn’t include as much funding for fencing along the border as Trump wanted, so he simultaneously announced plans to acquire funding by declaring a national emergency. It passed the Senate 83-16 and the House 300-128, with Budd voting against it.
North Carolina law enforcement agencies later received $7.6 million through the justice assistance, anti-heroin and anti-meth programs.
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018: Trump in March 2018 signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill that funded the government through that September. Trump famously slammed the bill and said he would "never sign" another one like it, partly because of its hasty development and partly because it didn’t fund his goals. CNBC reported that Trump tried to negotiate for more funding for a wall on the southern border and used the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program as leverage, but it didn’t work. It passed the House 256-167, with Budd voting against it, and the Senate 65-32.
The Beasley campaign said the bill allotted a combined $5.5 million to law enforcement programs through the justice assistance and anti-heroin grants. Altogether, the funding to North Carolina law enforcement agencies through those four appropriations bills totalled about $26.8 million.
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017: The House passed this $1.2 trillion bill 309-118, with Budd voting against it. The Senate then passed it 79-18 and Trump signed it into law in May 2017. While the bill boosted spending for the military and border security, Democrats were able to block significant funding for a wall along the border and stop major cuts to domestic programs that Trump wanted, CNBC reported.
The Beasley campaign said it also included $5.1 million in grants in North Carolina law enforcement agencies through the justice assistance and anti-meth programs.
The Budd campaign didn’t dispute that the appropriations bills funded federal grant programs that helped North Carolina law enforcement agencies. His campaign said he opposed the bills for a number of reasons, from what he viewed as insufficient border wall funding to adding to the national debt and contributing to inflation.
"By opposing these massive spending bills, Ted is standing for: Fiscal responsibility, border security, balanced budget, not paying people (to) not work, and against spiking inflation," Felts said.
Budd’s campaign says other votes to fund law enforcement show his commitment to police.
In approving the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 this year, the U.S. House held two key votes to cover different parts of the bill. Budd supported the part of the bill that funded the U.S. Justice Department, which funds the justice assistance program. North Carolina agencies received $5.5 million through the program for fiscal year 2022.
Budd has also supported other bills that seek to fund law enforcement agencies. He voted for the Invest to Protect Act of 2022, which would provide $60 million each year from 2023 to 2027 to local governments that employ fewer than 125 law enforcement officers. The bill awaits a hearing in the Senate. In 2020, he introduced the Community Policing Act which would direct the Justice Department to make grants available to law enforcement agencies for de-escalation training and community outreach.
The Budd campaign also boasts endorsements from the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association, the North Carolina Troopers Association and the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police.
Beasley said that Budd, "on four separate occasions, voted against funding for police here in North Carolina to the tune of more than $32 million."
It’s fair to say that Budd voted against bills that funded grants that ultimately sent funds to North Carolina law enforcement agencies.
However, Beasley got her numbers mixed up. The funding was included in massive spending plans that featured trillions of dollars for federal government operations and other initiatives, from stimulus checks to border wall funding. And Budd says he opposed the bills for reasons unrelated to law enforcement funding.
Beasley cherry-picked small details of a massive spending plan to make a misleading assertion. The claim has an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.
We rate it Mostly False.
Video of North Carolina’s 2022 U.S. Senate debate, published on C-SPAN.org Oct. 7, 2022.
Email and telephone interviews with Kelci Hobson and Dory MacMillan, spokespeople for the Cheri Beasley for U.S. Senate campaign.
Email exchange with Jonathan Felts, spokesman for the Ted Budd for U.S. Senate campaign.
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 on Congress.gov.
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 on Congress.gov.
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 on Congress.gov.
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 on Congress.gov.
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 on Congress.gov.
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 on Congress.gov.
Invest to Protect Act of 2022 on Congress.gov.
Community Policing Act on Congress.gov.
Politico, "Trump backs down, signs stimulus package," published Dec. 27, 2020.
CNBC, "Trump signs bills to avoid shutdown, scrap Obamacare taxes and raise tobacco buying age," published Dec. 20, 2019; "Trump signs $1.3 trillion spending bill into law despite being ‘unhappy’ about it," published March 23, 2018; "Trump signs spending bill to avert government shutdown," published May 5, 2017.
Washington Post, "Congress approves border deal to avert shutdown; Trump to sign it and seek wall money elsewhere," published Feb. 14, 2019; "An emergency declaration by Trump will lead to lawsuits. Lots of them," published Feb. 14, 2019.
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