Renewing his battle with congressional Republicans over federal spending, President Obama said Monday that the FBI and other agencies need more money to do their jobs.
Speaking at the formal installation of new FBI Director James B. Comey Jr. at the agency's headquarters in Washington, Mr. Obama told employees that their mission "keeps expanding" in spite of the government requiring them to carry out their jobs with less money.
"I'll keep fighting for those resources, because our country asks and expects a lot from you," the president said.
A bipartisan House-Senate budget conference committee will meet this week to consider spending levels for fiscal 2014, as part of the agreement that ended the 16-day government shutdown earlier this month.
Mr. Obama called Mr. Comey "a remarkable new leader" for the FBI.
"Jim has dedicated his life to defending our laws," Mr. Obama said.
As he starts his 10-year term, Mr. Comey said, "I know already that this job is the best I've ever had, and ever will have."
He said he's mindful of the FBI's abuses of power in the past, and said agents should visit the memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a lesson in the dangers of overreaching. The FBI spied on Dr. King during the civil rights era.
Mr. Comey said integrity is a key part of the agency's mission.
"Without integrity, all is lost," he said. "It is a gift that must be protected and earned every single day."
A former U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, Mr. Comey served as deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration. Prior to his nomination, he had worked as general counsel for Lockheed Martin.
The Senate approved Mr. Comey's nomination in July by a vote of 93-1. The lone dissenter was Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, who objects to the agency's drone surveillance program.
Mr. Comey, the bureau's seventh director, told reporters last month that the "sequester" budget cuts were hurting the FBI's ability to investigate domestic crime and to conduct counterterrorism probes.
The bureau has a hiring freeze and may have to cut its budget by 10 percent, or $800 million, out of its expected fiscal 2014 budget of about $8.1 billion. Mr. Comey said that will require him to cut 3,000 positions, and that he might need to furlough many employees.
In addition, the FBI training academy at Quantico, Va., has been inactive due to lack of funds.
Robert Mueller, who retired this year, was the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover. Mr. Comey actually took over the job on Sept. 4.
Original headline: Obama pitches more government spending at FBI Director Comey's ceremony
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