/  Ranking Member Cole Remarks on H.R. 8542, H.R. 4118, H.R. 5768 and H.R. 6448

Ranking Member Cole Remarks on H.R. 8542, H.R. 4118, H.R. 5768 and H.R. 6448

As delivered during today's hearing:

We are here meeting today on four pieces of legislation that were previously noticed for the end of July. An hour ago, we learned that we would be meeting on them today. Some of these bills have been modified, I assume to address the concerns of left-wing activists. The same individuals who have spent the past months championing the damaging "defund the police" rhetoric.

While I am concerned that the Democratic Majority may have weakened the areas which originally resulted in bipartisan support, I hope at least on some of these bills we can find bipartisan support and move them forward. Make no mistake, however, even if some of these bills receive bipartisan support, the reason we are here today, meeting under emergency designation, is an attempt for the Majority to paper over the constant calls over the last few years from some Democrats to enact a radical "defund the police" agenda. 

Having spent the last two years bashing police departments at every turn and embracing loud voices within their own caucus who sought to defund the police, the Majority has obviously realized that these positions are politically untenable. In a last-ditch effort to protect vulnerable members of their razor-thin Majority, Democrats are now bringing up these bills hoping that the fig leaf will hide their longstanding support for defunding the police and cover up years of extremely damaging rhetoric.

While it is better late than never, I do not think the American people will forget what the Majority has been saying all along. Constantly demonizing those public servants who protect us from criminals and actively trying to cut police funding was and is tremendously destructive. Today’s bills cannot make up for that. It cannot make up for the lost time, for the years spent demonizing police even while crime spirals out of control in our cities. 

Make no mistake, I am in favor of increasing funding for police departments across the country. I simply find it astonishing that the Majority is so abruptly changing their tune now, at this moment, when it is politically expedient to do so.

Having unleashed forces they could not control all across the country, the Majority is now trying to put the proverbial genie back in the bottle and pretend they were never in favor of defunding the police. But I do not think that will be successful. 

Too many radical progressive Democrats have too vocally called for defunding the police for far too long, and the results have been disastrous. Having sown, the Majority now must reap and must face the consequences for what they have done.

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Created: September 21, 2022