GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accused Democrats of taking liberal efforts to defund police to a national level with the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Wednesday night.
“The dangerous bill that Democrats snuck through last night doesn’t focus on common sense solutions like improving training, enhancing transparency, or reinforcing accountability,” McCarthy said in a Thursday statement.
“Instead, it forces mountains of new regulations on police departments without providing any money to comply. In Washington-speak, that’s called an unfunded mandate,” he added.
The Republican relayed that according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, the costs of the mandates contained in the bill, H.R. 1280, will be considerable.
“It means hundreds of millions in new costs for police departments — the equivalent of 3,000 cops or more taken off of the streets. That would mean 3,000 fewer men and women in uniform keeping our communities safe,” McCarthy said.
Democrats just doubled down as the party of Defunding the Police.
Last night, they voted to impose hundreds of millions in new costs on police departments—the equivalent of 3,000 cops or more taken off of the streets. https://t.co/26kUgHreiT
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 4, 2021
The congressmen also criticized H.R. 1280 for “[c]reating a federal database of all law enforcement officers. Without providing protections for officers wrongly accused or misidentified.”
Additionally, Bloomberg reported, “The bill would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement officers, prohibit racial and religious profiling by law enforcement and establish a national standard for police department operations, among other provisions.”
Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of California, who first introduced the legislation in June, said from the House floor Wednesday night that it creates needed nationwide standards.
“I am certain that police officers want to make sure that they are trained in the best practices,” Bass said. “To support officers, this legislation will create the first-ever national accreditation standards for the operation of police departments.”
“There are many tapes, many examples of individuals being shot and killed by officers, and yet transformation of policing in America has still not happened,” she argued.
Rep. Karen Bass: “A profession where you have the power to kill should be a profession that requires highly trained officers who are accountable to the public. That is what this bill accomplishes.” https://t.co/rAuid98r2O pic.twitter.com/OPwV6VJKpG
— The Hill (@thehill) March 4, 2021
“Passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will be the critical first step, just the first step, to transform policing in America.”
GOP Rep. Burgess Owens of Utah explained his opposition H.R. 1280 by relating conversions he had had with law enforcement officials in his home state.
“This is what they said,” Owens said, “and I quote, ‘This will destroy public safety. We haven’t done anything to earn this type of distrust. This will push good [law] enforcement out of the business.'”
“Police reform is necessary,” he continued. “We need to give officers the tools they need to fairly enforce the law, but this legislation paints a target on the back of every police officer in America.”
Owens noted that in Salt Lake City there was a 38 percent increase in homicides and during the same time period the city cut $5.3 million in its police department’s budget.
I spent the week talking with law enforcement officials in my district – here’s what they had to say about #HR1280:
“This will destroy public safety.”
“We haven’t done anything to earn this type of distrust.”
“This will push good law enforcement out of the business.” pic.twitter.com/ABDXa47rL0
— Rep. Burgess Owens (@RepBurgessOwens) March 3, 2021
“It should be no surprise that voluntary resignations doubled,” he said. “This bill will make good officers flee the profession when we need them most.”
“Democrats won’t say this, but this bill simply defunds the police.”
President Joe Biden tweeted his support for H.R. 1280 on Feb. 25, writing, “I am pleased that the House will vote next week on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”
“I encourage the House to pass it. Following Senate consideration, I hope to be able to sign into law a landmark police reform bill,” he added.
I am pleased that the House will vote next week on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. I encourage the House to pass it. Following Senate consideration, I hope to be able to sign into law a landmark police reform bill.
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 25, 2021
While the House narrowly passed the legislation, it faces a steeper climb in the Senate, with its 50-50 party split.
Democrats need to pick up at least 10 Republican senators to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold.
In June, Democrats successfully blocked police reform legislation, called the JUSTICE Act, which was offered by GOP Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
The bill fell five votes short of the 60 required for cloture.
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