New reporting from NBC News uncovers how 10 House Republicans’ votes against the American Rescue Plan was a vote against funding their local police departments. This comes one day after nearly the entire House Republican caucus disrespected Capitol Police officers and their families by voting against a committee to investigate the violence of January 6.
NBC News: House Republicans who opposed Covid aid still see funds flow to local police departments
By: Allan Smith
July 1, 2021
House Republicans who opposed the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill continue to see the benefits in their communities, and Democrats want to remind voters they are getting federal aid despite — and not because of — their elected officials.
As violent crime incidents have increased ahead of the summer, Democrats and Republicans are already trading accusations of responsibility for thinning police ranks.
As part of that effort, Democrats are highlighting communities in at least 10 districts represented by House Republicans considering or utilizing funds from the American Rescue Plan — specifically its $350 billion pot of money to help cash-strapped state and local governments — to bolster police departments. Without the money, Democrats argue, those departments would suffer.
The 10 members include: House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Reps. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.; David Kustoff, R-Tenn.; Sam Graves, R-Mo.; Steve Chabot, R-Ohio; John Katko, R-N.Y.; Victoria Spartz, R-Ind.; Doug Lamborn, R-Colo.; and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.
“House Republicans voted against the funding their communities needed to keep police officers on the beat,” Robyn Patterson, deputy communications director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. “If Republicans are looking for politicians who have voted to defund police departments, they only need to look in the mirror.”
The state of police departments and crime are likely to remain hot button political issues for the foreseeable future.
The criticism from the right has grown louder in recent months as violent crime rates have risen. The New York Times reported the homicide rates in big cities increased more than 30 percent on average in the past year while police retirements and resignations increased by 45 percent and 18 percent from April 2020 through this past April.
Crime typically increases during the warm summer months, so the upward trend may not be over.
Last week, President Joe Biden tied the spike in crime to the Covid-19 pandemic and easy access to guns, in unveiling his new anti-crime plan.
During an interview with “Fox News Sunday” this week, host Chris Wallace pressed Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., on whether Republicans bore responsibility for “defunding” police departments by not voting for Biden’s stimulus.
“Congressman Banks, you voted against that package, against the $350 billion, just like every other Republican in the House and Senate, so can’t you make the argument that it’s you and the Republicans who are defunding the police?” Wallace asked.
“Not at all,” Banks said. He argued it was more about rhetoric than dollars.
“What I’m saying is if we are serious about reducing violent crime in America, then Joe Biden will go on a national public relations campaign to admonish the radical voices in the Democrat party that stigmatize police officers and law enforcement,” Banks said.
Late last year, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who was seeking to include state and local funding in a previous aid package, framed the need around saving the jobs of first responders and other local employees.
“This about taking care of first responders,” Cassidy, who ultimately voted against Biden’s package, told CNBC in December. “I don’t want to be the guy defunding the police.”