The U.S. House of Representatives approved three resolutions for National Police Week.
The bills allow federal law enforcement officers to purchase their service weapons at retirement, make assaulting a law enforcement officer a deportable offense for illegal aliens, and expressed gratitude for local law enforcement departments while condemning efforts to defund them.
The package of bills passed with 218 Republicans and 4 Democrats voting yes, while 203 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted against the resolutions.
House Democrats hammered away at the language in a House Resolution they say belies Republicans’ true feelings about federal law enforcement officers during National Police Week.
During debate on three resolutions in the House of Representatives on May 16, 2023, Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) said language in one of the bills is a slap at Capitol Police who protected Congress on Jan. 6.
“I guess it just shows that Republicans only support some of the police,” McGovern said.
The U.S. House of Representatives debated three bills in observance of National Police Week.
HR 2494, HR 3091, and CR 40 make illegal aliens who assault police automatically subject to deportation, allow federal law enforcement officers to purchase their service weapons when the guns are retired, and express support for local law enforcement while condemning efforts to defund or dismantle police departments, respectively.
Much of the debate focused on CR 40 and the Democrats’ claim that Republicans were slighting federal law enforcement.
CR 40 expresses gratitude for local law enforcement and condemns efforts to defund or dismantle police departments. The legislation is a response to the defund the police movement that grew from the riots after the 2020 protests over the death of George Floyd.
McGovern said Republicans had previously introduced CR 5, a bill to honor all law enforcement officers. He said CR 40’s language honoring “local” law enforcement was a conscious decision to exclude federal law enforcement. He said no Republicans could or would explain the change.
“Nobody will help us solve this mystery. I find it disgraceful,” McGovern said.
Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), and other Republicans, countered that several Democrats backed the “defund the police movement that grew out of the 2020 George Floyd protests. Fischbach said the other side of the aisle was playing “word games” to draw attention away from that fact.
She pointed out that at this same point in the 117th Congress, Democrats were accusing police of racist policies, outlawing policing methods that kept officers safe, and voting to remove qualified immunity from police.
Qualified immunity is the legal principle that protects government officials, including the police, from being sued for actions taken during their regular duties.
“The brave men and women who risk their lives every day need to know that we support them,” Fischbach said.
“It is time for leaders to stand up for law enforcement and to stop the anti-police rhetoric.”
McGovern responded that the Republicans proposed spending cuts two weeks ago that would result in actual cuts to local law enforcement.
“They’re the ones who voted to defund the police,” McGovern said.
HR 2494 makes the assault of a law enforcement officer an automatically deportable offense. According to the legislation, making assault of an officer a specifically deportable offense will reduce the kind of legal analysis that can keep a case tied up in court for months.
Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) said that prior to passage of this resolution, it could take months to deport an illegal alien who had assaulted an officer. This legislation sends a clear message, he said.
“If you assault one of our officers we’re kicking you out of our country,” Rutherford said.
The House also passed HR 3091, which allows federal law enforcement officers to purchase their duty weapons when they retire or when the weapon is deemed surplus. Prior to passage of this law, the firearms had to be destroyed. Fischbach said this meant the government paid twice for the weapon.
Now, the government will recoup part of its cost. Rutherford, a retired law enforcement officer, said for a police officer his duty weapon is more than just a gun.
“Your sidearm is more than just a sidearm,” he said.