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Clinton Boosts Police Forces

President Clinton announced grants Saturday to hire hundreds of police officers - including 200 in Washington - but said the nation's crime-fighting efforts would be jeopardized by the Republicans' $792 billion "reckless" plan to cut taxes.

"Our ability to meet many of our vital national needs will be put at risk by the tax and budget plan now being pressed by the Republican leaders in Congress," Mr. Clinton said in his weekly radio address.

The president arrived in Colorado early Saturday to socialize with contributors of $50,000 or more to the Democratic Party. But he cut his weekend short to attend Sunday's funeral of King Hassan II in Morocco. He left Washington on Air Force One and is expected to arrive in Morocco Sunday morning.

Hassan, who helped forge Mideast peace and ruled Morocco for 38 years, died Friday of a heart attack at age 70. He was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Sidi Mohamed.

Mr. Clinton announced that the Justice Department was releasing $50 million to help 64 communities hire about 680 state and local law enforcement officers.

To bolster the fight against crime in the nation's capital, Mr. Clinton said the government also will give Washington $15 million to hire 200 new community police officers and 40 new federal prosecutors.

Under the new grants, Phoenix will receive $7.5 million to hire 100 officers; Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., $10.8 million to hire 144 officers; Detroit $9 million to hire 120 officers; and Austin, Texas, $3.7 million to hire 50 officers.

President Clinton said his crime-fighting strategy already has helped bring the murder rate to its lowest level in 30 years and the overall crime rate to its lowest level in 26 years. But he said the Republicans want to cut his community-policing plan in half.

"Their reckless tax plan would threaten law enforcement across the board, forcing reductions in the number of federal agents and cutting deeply into support for state and local law enforcement," the president contended.

"To make matters worse, of course, the House Republicans are refusing to take steps to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, like closing the gun show loophole," he added.

He said the GOP tax plan would cost $800 billion over the next decade and "a staggering $3 trillion over the next two decades."

"It is so large and it balloons in size so dramatically in future years that it would be impossible to invest our surplus to save Social Security, to save and strengthen Medicare with a prescription drug benefit, to pay off our national debt," Mr. Clinton said.

The president also spoke Friday night at a Democratic fund-raiser in Cincinnati that netted between $350,000 and $500,000.

Mr. Clinton used the occasion to blast the GOP's $792 billion tax cut. "If you look at the real long-term challenges of America, you can't honestly say we can afford a tax cut that big."

Earlier Friday, he president attended a memorial service in New York for the late John F. Kennedy Jr. He pointed out the last sentence of the eulogy delivered by Sen. Edward Kennedy: "Like his father, he had every gift but length of life."