A group of 19 Democrats is urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and congressional leaders to hold a vote on bipartisan legislation to increase funding for local police departments across the country.
“We write to request that the House bring legislation to the floor in the coming months to infuse our local police departments and their personnel with new resources to ensure our communities and officers are safe and secure and invest in our officers,” the House Democrats wrote in a letter first reported by NBC News. “Now is the time to send a clear message that we support investing in our women and men in blue.
Republicans have been hammering President Joe Biden and Democrats over an increase in violent crime in major cities. Democrats have responded by pulling back to some extent on calls for criminal justice reform and pushing back on progressive calls to defund the police. “The answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police,” Biden said in his State of the Union Address earlier this year. His budget called for increasing funding for law enforcement.
The Democrats behind the letter are mostly centrists, led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Cindy Axne of Iowa. Gottheimer, the co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, is an author of the Invest to Protect Act of 2022, which would create a new grant program to fund officer training, recruitment and mental health resources as well as body cameras and other equipment for police departments with fewer than 200 officers. The House bill has 55 co-sponsors, including 36 Democrats and 19 Republicans. A companion bill recently introduced in the Senate also has bipartisan support.