GOP police resolution supports ‘local’ law enforcement in wake of Durham report
A new Republican sponsored House bill honoring National Police Week marks the GOP’s shift toward support for local law enforcement versus national law enforcement.
The resolution, introduced by Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., earlier this month and referred to the House Judiciary Committee Monday, is explicitly “expressing support for local law enforcement officers and condemning efforts to defund or dismantle local law enforcement agencies.”
It notes that in the wake of George Floyd’s death, “many local jurisdictions defunded their police departments and saw a subsequent increase in violent crime” and “leftist activists and progressive politicians called for the defunding and dismantling of local police departments across the country and actively encouraged resentment toward local law enforcement.”
“Local law enforcement officers selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to fight crime, get drugs off our streets, and protect the innocent,” the resolution reads.
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The word “local” contrasts with the language from the resolution included in a package of 11 “ready-to-go” bills incoming House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., flagged in a December letter to his Republican colleagues that could be brought to the floor in the first two weeks of the party regaining majority in January 2023. That resolution was expressing “support for the Nation’s law enforcement agencies and condemning any efforts to defund or dismantle law enforcement agencies.”
Punchbowl News cited aides from Buck’s office as having said that the changes in the language were intended to reflect that local law enforcement were the ones mainly affected by progressive calls to defund the police in 2020 after protests and violent demonstrations swept the country.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee attempted to strike the word local from the resolution last week and expressed opposition also to the defunding of federal law enforcement, but Republican committee members rejected those amendments, asserting that they were irrelevant.
In 2020, the United States tallied more than 21,000 murders – the highest total since 1995 and 4,900 more than in 2019, the resolution says.
Once a rallying cry for much of the Democratic Party, the “defund the police” movement has seen opposition from President Biden. The president released a video message this week explicitly stressing that “the answer is not to defend,” before touting his administration’s own initiatives on gun control and the American Rescue Plan funding.
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The resolution comes at the same time Special Counsel John Durham’s final report on the origins of the FBI’s investigation of former President Trump and Russia was delivered to Congress on Monday. Durham concluded that the FBI and the Department of Justice “failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law” when they launched their investigation, an allegation which in turn sparked further scrutiny from members of the Republican Party toward federal law enforcement.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is already leading a select subcommittee investigating the “weaponization of the federal government” against conservatives.
That committee’s next hearing is Thursday and will include testimony from three FBI whistleblowers and “will examine abuses seen at the Bureau and how the FBI has retaliated against whistleblowers.”
When Trump was indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office last month, he notably called for Republicans to “defund the FBI and DOJ.”
“The only people that think the FBI is just a scrappy, little upstart organization that really needs more funding is apparently the House Democrats,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., told Punchbowl News. “Here’s what I’ve recognized in my entire career dealing with the FBI: They’re very well resourced, and they will continue to be very well resourced.”
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., cited the Durham report in commenting, “There is a reasonthat people are scrutinizing our federal police apparatus.” Scalise also reportedly argued that the Durham report demonstrates how the FBI “needs to do their job cleaning house” and called for “accountability” from “dirty cops.”
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Meanwhile, more moderate Republicans, such as Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-N.Y., remarked more broadly: “I stand with law enforcement. I always have.” A fellow member of the GOP delegation from New York, Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, a former NYPD detective, sponsored the anti-defund local police resolution.