in a letter to Nancy Pelosi and other House lawmakers on Friday, a group of Democrats warned against defunding the police, as if that was something their party leaders were eager to do. “Now is the time to send a clear message that we support investing in our Women and Men in Blue,” the Democrats wrote, urging Pelosi to bring bipartisan legislation to the vote that would increase money for police departments across the country. . “To make our communities safer, build a future with less crime, and save lives, we must not defund.”
“Instead, we must invest to protect,” added the Democrats, led by joseph gothheimer of New Jersey and cindy axne from iowa
The 19 signatories, mostly moderate Democrats, called on leaders to bring the Investment to Protect Act to a vote as part of an effort to combat rising crime rates. But they were also trying to combat political attacks from Republicans, who have called Joe Biden and his party as weak on crime, despite constant calls from the president to increase rather than decrease law enforcement funding. “The answer is not to defund the police,” he said in his State of the Union address in March. “The answer is to bottom police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.”
Democrats, some of whom face tough re-election battles this fall, emphasized those comments at the top of their letter to Pelosi, Jerrold Nadler and top Republicans Kevin McCarthy Y jim jordan. “We strongly support the President’s words and leadership and applaud the more than 10% increase in funding for state and local law enforcement in the FY 2022 appropriations bill,” the lawmakers wrote. But they also played into GOP attacks a bit, criticizing “bone-deep” cuts in law enforcement budgets that no Democratic leader has seriously discussed, let alone enacted.
The proposed legislation, introduced by Gottheimer in January, increases funding for small police departments to increase training, recruitment, body cameras and mental health resources. “We want our police officers to feel supported, especially when they are struggling with the realities of their profession,” Gottheimer said at the time. “We want them to know that we have their back and that they are appreciated for the work they do.” A companion bill in the Senate was introduced in March by the Georgia Democrat Raphael Warnockwho said the legislation “will direct additional and much-needed federal support to some of the law enforcement agencies in Georgia and across our country that need it most, strengthening public safety and investing in the mental, physical and mental health of our brave police officers.” emotional well-being.”
“I’m proud to support him,” Warnock said.
The implication that police departments have seen massive divestment is false, of course. While “defund the police” became a rallying cry for police reform following the killing of George Floyd, most cities did not make significant cuts in law enforcement budgets, as reported by Bloomberg CityLab. Instead, city governments from New York to Los Angeles expanded their police budgets in 2021. Biden, for his part, never supported defunding the police: he said during his campaign that plus the funding was needed to reform law enforcement, and he has made “public safety” a priority during his presidency. “The answer is not to leave our streets,” Biden said during a visit this year to the mayor of New York City. eric adams, a former police captain. “The answer is to unite, police and communities.”
It is not clear how much of this does to meaningfully address the real problem of crime. What is clear, however, is that none of this will stop Republicans from accusing Democrats of being anti-cop, or from trying to capitalize on a spike in crime across the country to attack their opponents ahead of the midterm elections. “Under Joe Biden, kamala harrisand Nancy Pelosi”, McCarthy tweeted on Thursday, “Democrats are the party of price gouging, crime and incompetence.”