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As anti-police rioters call for defunding the police, House Democrats are no longer interested in putting money for police programs in the latest coronavirus relief bill.
The most recent version of the $2.2 trillion HEROES Act does not include $600 million for police programs that were in earlier versions of the mammoth legislation, according to Fox News.
Those earlier versions included $300 million for Community Oriented Police Services Programs, whose funds go toward hiring additional officers, and $300 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, which allow local departments buy personal protective equipment.
The Democratic explanation is that other funding streams have emerged to address the need for PPE.
That cut no ice with Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who equated the action to pandering to mobs calling for defunding the police,.
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“House Democrats have fully embraced the radical left’s movement to defund the police,” Scalise said in a statement to Fox.
“Democrats’ so-called ‘Heroes Act’ removes $600 million from a previous version of the bill that was intended for real heroes: state and local law enforcement.”
He went on to claim Democrats “have no respect for law and order in our communities.”
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“In the face of violent rioting and looting, our law enforcement officers need our help more than ever, but Speaker Pelosi and her liberal lieutenants are abandoning these officers in plain sight,” he added. “It’s shameful.”
During a House Rules Committee hearing, Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey of New York conceded the bill does not add funding but said that “[in] no way does that mean defunding the police.”
Republican Rep. Rob Woodall of Georgia argued police officers mattered to Democrats in the spring, but not after a summer of anti-police protests.
“In the spring you believed local police departments are worthy of $300 million in investment, you recognized that need. But in this HEROES Act, I can’t find that at all. It appears to have disappeared,” Woodall said.
In a Wednesday statement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell castigated House Democrats for their actions.
“Now that supporting law enforcement has become less than fashionable on the far left, Democrats have actually taken out hundreds of millions of dollars for hiring and assisting police officers,” he said.
“Their so-called sequel to the HEROES Act has decided that cops are not heroes after all. House Democrats couldn’t miss a chance to ‘defund the police,’” he added.
“This latest bill from the Speaker is no more serious than any of their other political stunts going back months. If they continue to refuse to get serious then American families will continue to hurt.”
The latest version of the HEROES Act doles out $1,200 to every taxpayer, including illegal immigrants who pay taxes, restores unemployment benefits to $600 weekly in federal assistance through January and adds funds for the Paycheck Protection Program to distribute to small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
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