Two North Jersey lawmakers chided House Republicans for politicizing Police Week in Congress this week.
Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. and Mikie Sherrill separately questioned the motives of lawmakers across the aisle in rejecting amendments to help fund North Jersey police for what they considered partisan messaging bills.
“Unfortunately, this Police Week has been an utter disappointment,” said Pascrell.
Pascrell, the longtime co-chairman of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus, said his vote against H. Con. Res. 40 is it due to it being a flawed Republican resolution that purports support for policing in America but does the exact opposite.
“Instead of working to bolster public safety, House Republicans pushed messaging bills that do diddly-squat to fund or support the police,” said Pascrell. “(This) hollow resolution won’t put more officers on our streets or get departments the training and resources they need to keep our communities safe.”
The 9th Congressional District Congressman pointed to Republicans refusing to consider five amendments filed by Pascrell to the resolution, including an amendment expressing Congressional support for increasing funding for federal policing grants.
“The majority refused to even take a vote on my amendments recognizing the work of federal law enforcement officers and the need for more funds to hire cops and provide lifesaving equipment,” said Pascrell. “What are Republicans so afraid of? Maybe they don’t want the American people to know their agenda is a farce.”
Sherrill noted, while working with local law enforcement officials, she has cosponsored bipartisan bills to equip police officers with the tools they need to do their job. In this new term, she requested $3 million for local departments in Morris and Essex counties to address their needs.
“However, the GOP House majority chose to bring none of those proposals to the floor this year during Police Week,” she said. “Instead of passing legislation to actually support and protect law enforcement officers, the House Republicans decided to focus on partisan messaging bills.”
Failure to Fight Extremists
But the Morris County lawmaker pointed to GOP lawmakers turning a blind-eye to the attackers of the U.S. Capitol while focusing on Black Lives Matter activists.
“I saw firsthand the bravery of our law enforcement and the dangers of the job on January 6, 2021, as five officers died as a result of the attack on the United States Capitol by people seeking to undermine our democracy,” said Sherrill. “But Republicans in the House refuse to address this extremism and, in fact, leave federal law enforcement out of their messaging bill altogether.”
“Instead, they have zeroed in on supposed ‘leftist activists’ who spent the summer of 2020 protesting for justice in the wake of the murders of Black people such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.”
GOP Defunding the Police
Additionally, Sherrill blasted GOP lawmakers who keep trying to score partisan points promoting the “defund the police” narrative when it has been Republicans who have voted no on making sure law enforcement authorities are receiving the funds they needed.
“They know that members like me have delivered millions of dollars of funding for local law enforcement agencies to ensure they have the resources they need, especially during the darkest days of the pandemic,” she said. “Every House Republican voted against police funding in the American Rescue Plan. And now, House Republicans voted to slash federal law enforcement budgets, literally defunding the police.”
Pascrell added “For years, Donald Trump and the GOP have sought devastating cuts to our federal policing grants. And every time, Democrats have fought back to fund the police. We have the receipts.”
Support the Blue
Both representatives said they will continue to pursue their legislative goals that support and fund North Jersey police officers.
“As someone who knows firsthand how difficult and dangerous it can be to serve our country, and how any force is diminished by racism, sexism, and a lack of accountability and justice, I will always support our police and fight to make New Jersey a more equal, fair place to live,” said Sherrill.
“Congress must always have the backs of our nation’s men and women in blue,” said Pascrell. “I implore the House majority to put bipartisan legislation on the floor that actually helps officers and their families. Our cops deserve better than partisan gambits and empty gestures.”