House Democrats Pass Police Funding Bill Despite Opposition – National

House Democrats on Thursday pushed for a long-sought police and public safety package after overcoming internal disagreements over a law they would put at the center of their election-year pitch.

A package of four bills passed in quick succession, all heading to the Senate with bipartisan support, but their fate is uncertain.

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The Democrats’ success came after the party leader spent hours arguing with progressives who threatened to block the package over concerns of increased fees to local police departments. After the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked protests over racial injustice, he said the accountability measures Democrats once sought were lacking.

The House eventually approved the funding, which includes support for departments with fewer than 125 officers, de-escalation training and mental health services. The main objective is to reduce fatal encounters between police and mentally ill patients.

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Other parts of the package go to enhanced community violence interventions (a progressive priority) and technology to help local investigators close unsolved cases, especially those involving gun crimes. fund the investment in

“The bottom line is that we can’t pave the way for safer communities and better police stations, and we can’t pay off the money,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, one of the key negotiators. DN.J.) said. “It’s an investment to protect. We must always have the backs of those who risked their lives every day to protect us.”

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Despite opposition from some liberals, there was support from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. D-Wash, and Ilhan Omar, who negotiated with moderate Gottheimer.

Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio, who heads the congressional black caucus, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who heads the Democratic caucus, sparked many conversations after recent progress was revealed. Did.

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After the deal was announced Wednesday, Democratic leaders quickly tried to bring the bill to a vote.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve collectively done here as Democrats of different ideologies,” Omar told reporters. “And I think this is the beginning of a process that we can continue to work on.”

To engage more liberals, it included language that allowed the Justice Department to have discretion over which police departments could receive subsidies. Allocate a department to use one of the $60 million approved for safety data collection.

The anti-police package passed by the House of Representatives in March 2021 goes even further, including banning police chokeholds and changing so-called limited liability immunity for law enforcement, which could reduce allegations of police misconduct. becomes easier.

None of those provisions were included this time.

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Rep. Cori Bush, who rose to prominence as an activist leader after the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, said the current fundraising bill mostly addresses the “crisis of police brutality.” said no.

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Even the “most bare bones accountability measures” passed last year could not be included in the new package, Bush said in a statement.

Despite these internal divisions, the bill gained Republican support. Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.), a co-sponsor of Gottheimer’s funding bill, urged other Republicans on Thursday to join him in supporting the bill.

“This is for law enforcement men and women. This is for smaller agencies,” said Rutherford, a former Jacksonville sheriff. “We need to be able to help them.

More than 140 Republicans ultimately voted for the bill.

But other Republicans called the Democratic package a last-ditch effort to win voters in the November election.

“With 46 days left until the midterm elections, Democrats are introducing these bills today,” said Rep. Pete Stauber R-Min. “They want Americans to suddenly and miraculously believe they care about the crime crisis plaguing our country.”

Associated Press reporter Kevin Flaking contributed to this report.

© 2022 Canadian Press

House Democrats Pass Police Funding Bill Despite Opposition – National

Source link House Democrats Pass Police Funding Bill Despite Opposition – National

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