After Republican legislators criticized House Democrats for being lax on crime amid a rise in violent lawlessness around the country, Democrats enacted legislation on Thursday intended to boost police budget and community security.
Funding For State and Local Governments
The Mental Health Justice Act, the Invest to Protect Act, the Break the Cycle of Violence Act, and the VICTIM Act are the four pieces of legislation approved by lawmakers as components of the package.
Rep. Katie Porter establishes funding for state and local governments to educate and send mental health experts to attend to behavioral health emergency situation,s rather than police.
The House just passed a package of police funding and public safety bills — all with some amount of Republican support:
VICTIM Act of 2022 – 250-178
Break the Cycle of Violence Act – 220-207
Mental Health Justice Act of 2022 – 223-206
Invest and Protect Act – 360-64
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 22, 2022
The Invest to Protect Act, introduced by moderate Rep. Josh Gottheimer, increases financing for police forces with less than 200 personnel on staff.
Rep. Steven Horsford’s Break the Cycle of Violence Act offers grants to support community violence prevention efforts in communities with higher rates of killings and community brutality.
The VICTIM Act was presented by Rep. Val Demings, who described its passage as a “huge victory for America’s community security.” She noted both Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of it in the U.S. House.
The measure gives money to local law enforcement agencies so they can hire investigators and victim advocates to help solve violent crimes and outstanding murders.
House passes police funding and public safety bills, which would provide grants to local police departments and mental health professionals, and fund organizations that work to reduce crime. https://t.co/ietEgyfmJT
— Breaking News (@BreakingNews) September 22, 2022
Reps. Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib united with Republicans in voting against the bill. Rep. Ayanna Pressley abstained.
A rule defining the parameters of the discussion on the legislation was approved by parliamentarians with a vote of 216-215 after nearly two hours of protracted talks.
Though it’s unclear whether the bill will have enough backing from Senate Republicans to succeed. In a statement on the House floor on Thursday, Rep. Matt Gaetz was outspoken about his opposition to the bundle of proposals.
Gaetz: Stay Out of the Police’s Way
The Florida Republican made it clear that he doesn’t believe any bills need to be passed in order to improve policing. Gaetz instead claimed that not being in the way of law enforcement is the best course of action.
There is a very real possibility that other Republicans in Congress will share this point of view.
Based on a midyear comparison survey by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, violent crime has increased significantly across the United States this year. It will increase by 4% in 2022, when measured to the same time frame in 2021. (MCCA).
In the first half of this year, robberies increased by 12 percent in comparison to 2021, while aggravated assaults increased by 2.5 percent. However, MCCA figures show homicides are down 2% from the previous year.
In the meantime, nationwide calls to stop funding the police, as well as ongoing shortages in law enforcement, have made the situation worse.