Democrats Pass Bill Critics Say Is Tantamount to Defunding the Police

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Posted: Mar 04, 2021 7:00 AM
Democrats Pass Bill Critics Say Is Tantamount to Defunding the Police

Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

The House on Wednesday passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in a party-line vote, a sweeping police reform bill that critics say “defunds the police.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the legislation “will address systemic racism, curb police brutality and save lives,” noting that some of the reforms include banning chokeholds, ending no-knock warrants, tackling racial profiling, combating police misconduct, and ending qualified immunity.

The bill passed 220-212, although Texas Rep. Lance Gooden, who was the sole Republican to cross party lines in favor of the legislation, later said his vote was accidental and he changed the official record. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and others, said the legislation was tantamount to defunding the police.

“The unfunded mandates in their bill, H.R. 1280, would cost police departments hundreds of millions of dollars—the equivalent of taking 3,000 cops or more off the streets," he tweeted. "Our men and women in uniform deserve better.”

In a letter to the director of the Congressional Budget Office, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Jason Smith, ranking member of the House Budget Committee, said the CBO’s analysis was not comprehensive enough.

“It is our understanding that H.R. 1280 contains provisions that significantly violate the current Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) threshold of $85 million,” the letter states. “It is further our understanding that these provisions may in fact result in additional costs to state, local, and tribal governments totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars which would deprive these localities of the resources needed to provide adequate policing and public safety services in their communities.”

Democrats also rejected an amendment by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) that recognizes law enforcement officers and “condemns calls to ‘defund,’ ‘disband,’ ‘dismantle,’ or ‘abolish’ the police.”