I suppose it’s a sign we’re getting entering the New Normal™ that we’re back talking about legislation from the Democrat-controlled House that has zero chance of passing the Senate — assuming, of course, it passes the House. This time, it’s a bill to defund police, among other radical proposals, that is supported by “squad” members Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
And, according to Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, there’s only one place for it to go: “in the shredder.”
Kennedy made the remarks Wednesday during an appearance on Fox News to talk about the BREATHE Act, announced by “squad” members Tuesday on a Zoom call.
“We can start to envision through this bill a new version for public safety — a new vision for public safety, one that protects and affirms black lives,” Tlaib said of the legislation, according to the New York Post.
The legislation is yet to be introduced — and also unlikely to be picked up by a House that’s already passed its own police reform bill. That bill contains enough bad ideas about law enforcement to make it nigh impossible to pass. The BREATHE Act, predictably, goes well beyond that.
Remember when abolishing ICE was a thing? Well, this is abolish ICE times 2,356.
According to a description of the bill posted online, the bill would “[e]liminate federal programs and agencies used to finance and expand the U.S. criminal-legal system, such as the Department of Defense 1033 program [which sells military surplus to police departments], the Edward Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program, Community Oriented Policing Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
All of this would involve eliminating or defunding law enforcement at a federal level. The bill would still retain certain “non-punitive, non-carceral elements of these programs … so that they can be transferred to another funding source.”
Among the other elements of the program: no more life sentences, no electronic monitoring via devices like ankle bracelets, no more federal prisons and no more federal laws criminalizing “human movement and border entry.”
So, in other words, this has zero chance of passing.
It hasn’t been introduced yet, but best of luck getting anyone willing to sign onto this thing. Maybe that’s not the point, though — as Kennedy noted during his appearance on Fox News.
The BREATHE Act, Kennedy said, “is clearly a serious effort to compete in the woke Olympics.”
“I’d give it, I don’t know, 9.7,” he said. “As an American who feels gratitude, not hatred, for my country, though, the only way I know how to improve their bill is with the shredder.”
“I think it’s great that we live in the country where the two congresswomen have the right to say what they want, but we also have the right to disagree with them,” Kennedy said.
“I believe in free enterprise. They’re Marxists,” he continued. “I believe in equal opportunity. They believe in government-guaranteed equal outcome. They don’t believe in the Second Amendment. I believe that love is the answer, but I also own a handgun just in case.”
Kennedy also said the representatives “hate cops just because they’re cops. I don’t. They think most Americans are racist. I don’t. I’m proud of the fact that we’ve passed 20 civil rights bills and amendments.
“It’s just a fundamental disagreement, and I don’t think their bill will go very far. But as I said, it’s a serious effort to compete in the woke Olympics.”
Where the woke Olympiad goes is anyone’s guess. While the time is certainly ripe for bills like the BREATHE Act, given the unrest in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody, the bill is problematic for Democrats on a number of levels.
It’s big on the verbiage of the new left: We need to invest in community alternatives to policing and “carceral” penalties. Those alternatives can’t involve electronic monitoring, though. What’s the alternative? Who knows? This’ll all sort itself out, I’m sure.
Some senior Democrats have also been vocal about their opposition to defunding police.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called defunding a decision for local governments. On a June conference call, Politico reported House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina said “some people tried to hijack” the protest movement and that they shouldn’t “let yourselves be drawn into the debate about defunding police forces.”
Thus, even before it’s fully written, the bill is already dead, with no prospect of Republican support and only partial Democrat support.
Beyond that, Kennedy made a succinct case of why the bill shouldn’t pass, aside from it being a self-inflicted poison pill on the left.
“A civilization, in order to be civilized, has to have a set of rules and someone to enforce them,” he said. “In terms of the bill, that the two congresswomen are offering, I don’t think anybody in the Senate is taking it very seriously.”
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