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With U.S. midterm elections approaching, Democrats score bipartisan win on public safety bills

Economy Sep 22, 2022 05:15PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol Building is lit at sunset in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

By Moira Warburton and Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a series of bipartisan policing and public safety bills, as Democrats worked to burnish their crime-fighting credentials before the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

The "Invest to Protect Act" aims to beef up federal funding for community policing activities in smaller jurisdictions, which often lack the money for officer body cameras and "de-escalation" training aimed at avoiding death or injury during law enforcement activities.

"Support for investing in law enforcement couldn't have been clearer," Democratic Representative Josh Gottheimer, who sponsored the bill, told Reuters.

He said that the strong bipartisan vote could bode well for future police reform efforts.

A trio of related bills that also passed on Thursday would help smaller police departments attract and retain officers, support local governments in developing mental health programs to lower crime rates and create grants for training to solve gun murders.

The bills have long been a priority for moderate Democrats, who face tough re-election campaigns in November as Republican opponents accuse them of wanting to "defund the police."

In April, the pollster Gallup found concern over crime was at its highest level since 2016, with 53% of Americans saying they worried a great deal about it.

A handful of progressives opposed Gottheimer's bill, saying it would not satisfy Democratic voters who are concerned about police impunity and swollen law enforcement budgets.

The party's progressive and moderate wings had mostly resolved differences on the Invest to Protect Act on Wednesday, and leadership immediately called for a next-day vote.

On Thursday, the bill passed on an overwhelming 360-64 vote.

A slightly different version of Gottheimer's bill passed the Senate in early August. The two chambers will have to reconcile their differences before it can be sent to President Joe Biden for signing into law.

Congressional Democrats have yet to find a way to enact legislation making it easier to hold police departments and their officers accountable for the use of excessive force, especially against minorities.

"It doesn't take away the call for real accountability. This is not a substitute for that in any way," Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal said of the legislation being debated on Thursday.

With U.S. midterm elections approaching, Democrats score bipartisan win on public safety bills
 

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Comments (6)
gab nea
gab nea Sep 23, 2022 4:25AM ET
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I agree trump used the justice dept and weak bill Barr as his own law firm and had investigations started on his opponent son and wait what happened to lock her up, a reference to an innocent person. during the orange ex, it was called dept of injustice!
gab nea
gab nea Sep 23, 2022 4:19AM ET
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it is so refreshing having a president without daily scandals, lies , divisions and insults! you would think the Republicans can pick better. with ron coming up to bat, I guess not! vote them out till they learn!
gab nea
gab nea Sep 23, 2022 4:19AM ET
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oh yeah I forgot , gritting daily!
Mike Nawrocki
Mike Nawrocki Sep 22, 2022 8:24PM ET
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More U.S. taxpayers dollars thrown into the empty never-ending firepit of political payoffs.
Scott Faries
Scott Faries Sep 22, 2022 11:55AM ET
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Dens are extremely SOFT on crime, almost like they are supporting it and anti police... Do NOT vote for Dems!!!
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Sep 22, 2022 11:55AM ET
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You are a broken record.
gab nea
gab nea Sep 22, 2022 11:55AM ET
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bashing capitol police is anti police, trump getting away with crimes is being soft on crime, stop lying already Republican!
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 22, 2022 11:55AM ET
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"Dens are extremely SOFT on crime" -- really?  so how do you explain national crime rates going down in the last 30 years and prison populations increased drastically in the same period that included 16 years of Clinton and Obama???
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 22, 2022 7:40AM ET
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GOP:  we support law enforcements 100%, unless they are investigation us
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 22, 2022 7:40AM ET
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"investigating"
gab nea
gab nea Sep 22, 2022 7:03AM ET
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the Republicans are the ones soft on crime and do not support the police! they defended the bashing of capitol police and the desecration of the building. they let the orange criminal evade justice at every corner. they only like police and justice when it's a poor black man protesting the ********of another poor black man by white police. vote every racist lying Republican out!
Scott Faries
Scott Faries Sep 22, 2022 7:03AM ET
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Do you really belive this??? I cannot even read this with any thought that you actually do believe this nonsense...
 
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