The House Rules Committee approved three resolutions to kick off National Police Week on Monday, May 15. While committee members unanimously voiced support for the police, the vote was split along party lines.
The Republican majority outvoted the Democrats 8 to 3. The Democrats accused the Republicans of ingratitude toward law enforcement. The Republicans accused the Democrats of hypocrisy.
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) claimed that Republicans want to defund law enforcement through federal budget cuts. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) asked Nadler if he stood by comments that he previously made to The New York Post to defund the New York City Police Department. Nadler said he did. Norman added that New York has become more dangerous because of those budget cuts.
“I don’t know how you can sit there and make the statements you’re making when your record is so dismal,” Norman said.
Nadler responded that New York is safer because money taken from police is used for mental health services.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) serves on the Judiciary Committee with Nadler.
“You asked if I’ve ever heard this before,” Biggs said to Norman.
“Yeah, I serve on the judiciary committee; I hear it all the time.”
The three resolutions—HR 2494, HR 3091, and CR 40—will now go to the House floor.
The bills make illegal aliens who assault police automatically subject to deportation, allow federal law enforcement officers to purchase their service weapons when the guns are retired, and express support for local law enforcement while condemning efforts to defund or dismantle police departments.
“The House of Representatives will be making clear where we stand. Above all, we honor the memory of all who have fallen in the line of duty,” said Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).
Nadler, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, and Biggs testified before the Rules Committee.
Nadler criticized the resolutions, which he said would not help police while “demonizing” immigrants and slighting federal law enforcement.
“Together, they are the perfect encapsulation of a Republican majority,” Nadler said.
According to Nadler, HR 2494 is unnecessary because illegal aliens that assault police can already be deported. Nadler said the proposed law doesn’t require “actual harm” or injury.
“This could lead to absurd results,” Nadler said.
He said the legislation would subject non-violent people to deportation for such innocuous actions as shoving a firefighter or police officer out of danger in a fire.
Biggs agreed that the situation Nadler described was absurd. According to Biggs, Nadler’s situation was absurd because it wouldn’t happen because in every jurisdiction, the state must prove intent to harm, whether or not there is actual harm. Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.) agreed.
“Mr. Nadler, that’s a little farfetched,” she said.
Nadler and other Democrats were especially critical of HR 3091. They said the resolution thanking local law enforcement intentionally left out federal agencies. Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) grilled Biggs on who made that decision and why. He said it was a slap at the Capitol Police who protected Congress on Jan. 6.
Biggs denied there was any intent to slight federal law enforcement. He said those agencies were mentioned in the other bills. McGovern was unmoved. He said early versions of the resolution included the federal agencies.
“Somewhere along the line, a decision was made to change that. Why would you do that?” McGovern asked.
McGovern said Republicans are getting back at federal law enforcement for its prosecution of former President Donald Trump. McGovern rattled off a list of indictments handed down against Trump, his staff, and associates.
“I don’t think it was an accident that you wanted to change (the resolution),” McGovern said.
Biggs pointed out that the freshly released Durham report was critical of the FBI’s handling of the investigations that McGovern had referenced. McGovern responded that there are no indictments from the Durham Report.
“Trying to get an indictment out of (Attorney General) Merrick Garland will be pretty darn hard unless you’re a Republican,” Biggs shot back.
Democratic opposition to HR 3091 was not as stiff but McGovern said the bill still has problems.Nadler said a version of the bill introduced during the last session included a requirement that the officers pass a background check and that money raised from the purchases be used to finance gun violence prevention programs.
Biggs said the plan was more fiscally responsible than most legislation from Congress. He pointed out that the government would recoup some of the money spent when the firearms were first purchased and reduce the cost of destroying the weapons as required by current law.
“This bill is not only pro-law enforcement, it is pro-taxpayer as well,” Biggs said.
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