RELEASE: Gottheimer, Porter, Phillips, Spanberger Lead 32 Democrats Urging House Leadership for Votes on Bipartisan Law Enforcement Bills

Commonsense Investment in Local Police Departments. Bills Include Backing from Republicans in House, Senate, Law Enforcement Groups.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Katie Porter (CA-45), Dean Phillips (MN-3), and Abigail Spanberger (VA-7) led a group of 32 total Members of Congress urging House leadership to bring bipartisan, commonsense bills to the House floor for standalone votes — to invest in local police departments to boost the numbers, retention, training, mental health, and accountability of law enforcement officers.

The bipartisan bills the Members requested be brought to the House floor immediately after the July 4 recess include Rep. Gottheimer’s (NJ-5) Invest to Protect Act, Rep. Porter’s (CA-45) Mental Health Justice Act, Rep. Phillips’ (MN-3) Pathways to Policing Act, and Rep. Spanberger’s (VA-7) COPS on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act.

“There are a number of bipartisan bills supporting increased resources for police departments and officers that we believe should be considered as standalone legislation by the House no later than when Congress returns from the July 4 district work period,” the Members of Congress wrote in a letter to House leadership today. “The House Judiciary Committee has made clear to several members that it has no intention of bringing any law enforcement bills through the markup process. Therefore, we implore you to please use your power to bring these bills to the Floor for up or down votes, as you did recently with the Protecting Our Kids Act bill, so that every member can be on the record and their constituents can know where they stand.”

The Members continued, “We continue to hear from our constituents who are extremely concerned about the rising level of crime in the country, and about the importance of enforcing laws already on the books. That is why we have consistently advocated for commonsense, bipartisan legislation to increase investment in local police departments to boost the numbers, retention, training, and accountability of law enforcement officers on the beat.”

The letter was signed by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Katie Porter (CA-45), Dean Phillips (MN-3), Abigail Spanberger (VA-7), Susie Lee (NV-3), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-1), Daniel T. Kildee (MI-5), Tom Suozzi (NY-3), Jared Golden (ME-2), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Angie Craig (MN-2), Ed Case (HI-1), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Jim Costa (CA-16), Tom Malinowski (NJ-7), Kurt Schrader (OR-5), Mike Levin (CA-49), Susan Wild (PA-7), Chris Pappas (NH-1), Cindy Axne (IA-3), Elissa Slotkin (MI-8), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2), Steven Horsford (NV-4), Sanford Bishop (GA-2), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Kim Schrier (WA-8), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-7), Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-7), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-6), Scott Peters (CA-52), and Debbie Dingell (MI-12).

Full text of the letter can be found here and below:

June 21, 2022

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C.  20515

The Honorable Steny Hoyer
Majority Leader
H-107, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C.  20515

The Honorable James E. Clyburn
Majority WhipH-329, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and Majority Whip Clyburn:

As we have over the last two years, we continue to hear from our constituents who are extremely concerned about the rising level of crime in the country, and about the importance of enforcing laws already on the books. That is why we have consistently advocated for commonsense, bipartisan legislation to increase investment in local police departments to boost the numbers, retention, training, and accountability of law enforcement officers on the beat.

There are a number of bipartisan bills supporting increased resources for police departments and officers that we believe should be considered as standalone legislation by the House no later than when Congress returns from the July 4 district work period. We are aware, however, of an effort to try and package police funding bills with Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations. We disagree with adding these into appropriations legislation. First, it may not be feasible. Second, it would prevent Members from publicly showing their support for law enforcement. Third, it could limit the bipartisan support that we believe only strengthens these measures.

The House Judiciary Committee has made clear to several members that it has no intention of bringing any law enforcement bills through the markup process. Therefore, we implore you to please use your power to bring these bills to the Floor for up or down votes, as you did recently with the Protecting Our Kids Act bill, so that every member can be on the record and their constituents can know where they stand.

To that end, we are asking that leadership commit to bringing the following pieces of legislation to the Floor immediately after the July 4 recess, and to bring them as standalone bills:

  • H.R. 6448, Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Rutherford’s “Invest to Protect Act” (D-53, R-23).
    • Passed unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • H.R. 6375, Reps. Tom Rice and Abigail Spanberger’s “COPS on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act” (D-30, R-24).
  • H.R. 1368, Reps. Katie Porter and Michelle Steel’s “Mental Health Justice Act” (D-126), R-1).
  • H.R. 7826, Rep. Dean Phillips’ “Pathways to Policing Act” (D-5, R-5).

Members should have the opportunity to show our constituents that we are addressing crime in our communities. We are also asking that you please meet with us next week to discuss the need to invest in law enforcement to make our communities safer from criminals. Thank you.

Sincerely,

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

 

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