This week in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) put forward an amendment to provide federal grants to support the hiring of one hundred thousand new police officers across the United States — and almost every member of the Senate Democratic caucus voted in favor of the (non-binding) measure, significantly undercutting the false idea that “defunding” the police is some kind of leading principle within the Democratic Party.
As noted by Senate Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Hawley’s proposal directly reflected the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) — which was put together by none other than Joe Biden when he served in the Senate. (The office provides federal grants for elements of police work.) Via deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates, the White House itself joined in criticisms of Hawley’s nonsense. In fact, not only have Democrats consistently supported funding for law enforcement personnel through the COPS program, but it’s those ideologically aligned with Hawley who have sought to strip police funding by going after that program and who laid the ideological foundation for the assaults on police that took place at the Capitol on January 6. Bates laid out these facts.
Hawley insisted on Twitter that it’s “about time Joe Biden stood up to the anti-cop, #DefundThePolice extremists in his party in the House.” In response, Bates wrote on Twitter as follows:
‘[President Joe Biden] created the COPS program. The GOP tried to defund the police by eliminating it ever since. By contrast, the President ran on raising COPS funding. So if those who stood for police layoffs by opposing [the American Rescue Plan] – and who encouraged Jan. 6 – are doing a 180, that’s welcome.’
.@POTUS created the COPS program. The GOP tried to defund the police by eliminating it ever since.
By contrast, the President ran on raising COPS funding.
So if those who stood for police layoffs by opposing ARP
– and who encouraged Jan. 6 – are doing a 180, that's welcome. https://t.co/FlTGBpKS1j
— Andrew Bates (@AndrewJBates46) August 12, 2021
As Bates referenced, the American Rescue Plan — which was the wide-ranging COVID-19 economic relief package that Biden signed into law earlier this year — included significant troves of funding to support local government operations, including policing. Furthermore, the Capitol riot that Hawley directly encouraged with his deception about the integrity of last year’s election included assaults against scores of police officers, and in the time since, many prominent Republicans have failed to come to the defense of those officers who were targeted. Thus, pretending as though Republicans are in a position to speak authoritatively about consistent support for law enforcement is not reflective of the truth.