A Good Bill? Or a Bill of Goods?

March 5, 2021


Originally published in the Daily Journal.

For far too long, representatives in Washington, D.C. have gotten away with passing off talking points as seemingly serious solutions to important issues. It’s only after it’s too late that the American people realize they’ve been “sold a bill of goods” in legislation that’s better suited as a cable news monologue than as law.

This week, the important issue being ignored is law enforcement reform, and the “serious solution” is the Democrats’ policing bill.

As we approach the anniversaries of the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, law enforcement remains at the forefront of American politics and priorities, including right here in the Hoosier state. Despite some commonsense answers being right in front of us, Speaker Pelosi has again put forth the highly-partisan, anti-police George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, an unserious piece of legislation masquerading as the solution rather than working with Republicans and law enforcement groups to craft meaningful legislation.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was first introduced in the 116th Congress and passed one of the three committees of jurisdiction by a partisan vote – the other two didn’t even consider it – after Democrats rejected every Republican amendment. Less than three weeks after it was introduced, the bill was brought to the House floor for a vote without the support of police unions and certainly without the support of many of our committed police officers across the District. The bill barely passed the House of Representatives and was dead on arrival in the Senate.

This congress, Democrats re-introduced the exact same bill.  You would expect them to have worked with Republicans and law enforcement now that their majority is down to only three seats in the House. But, alas, this was never a real attempt to solve the challenges we see in our communities.  No Republican Amendments.  No support from law enforcement.  No hearings and no mark-ups.  Less than one week after introduction, Democrats brought the exact same bill to the Floor for a vote.

Here in Indiana’s 9th District, I meet regularly with local law enforcement officers who tell me they want to see more good policing everywhere, they want to see officers doing their best to keep their communities safe, and they want more resources and tools to face the multidimensional challenges they see every watch. As we work to strengthen our law enforcement systems, we must work with, not against, law enforcement groups across the country, with those in the line of duty every day, to understand how to best protect those tasked with keeping us safe and those in the communities from every walk of life who want to be kept safe.

Once again though, representatives in Washington have transformed an opportunity to create real, lasting change into another chance to pat themselves on the back for satiating their political base.

Americans both deserve and want serious solutions, and the law enforcement officers I’ve met with stand ready to contribute to those solutions. In the meantime, Americans should not mistake the messaging bills coming out of Washington for the policy solutions we deserve.

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