Expressing Support for Local Law Enforcement Officers and Condemning Efforts to Defund or Dismantle Local Law Enforcement Agencies

Floor Speech

Date: May 18, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. JAYAPAL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this resolution, and I do so sadly because there are many things that my good colleague across the aisle from Colorado and I agree on and work on. This is unequivocally not one of them.

The reason I am so distraught by this resolution is because I am the proud chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. We are a caucus of 102 Members in this body. We have done many wonderful things for our constituents and people across the country.

In fact, we have even worked with the Freedom Caucus, the gentleman from Arizona, to take on some things around accountability of law enforcement, surveillance, privacy rights--many issues that we agree on.

The characterization of progressives within this resolution makes it absolutely impossible to support the resolution.

I think, unfortunately, that is the point that my friends are trying to make. They are trying to make us vote against a resolution that supports law enforcement by inserting these provisions that are characterizations that are absolutely harmful and encourage hate against us as progressives representing our constituents.

Now, we already passed a resolution honoring law enforcement this week, but this resolution literally makes it impossible for us to support.

I want to raise a couple of points about this. My colleague from Arizona said we want to hold Federal law enforcement accountable. Well, that is exactly what Democrats sought to do when we passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which not a single Republican voted for.

We need accountability of all of our agencies at all levels. That doesn't mean we don't appreciate the work that those agencies do. We absolutely do.

As somebody who experienced violent threats against my life and my family's life from a man showing up with a gun at my house, I was defended by our local law enforcement, and I am incredibly grateful to them.

I resent the characterization that somehow we progressives do not support law enforcement just because we want to have accountability in our communities so that Black and Brown people can walk down the streets and feel safe.

In addition, this is not about honoring law enforcement because, last week, I tried to introduce an amendment in committee that said if we are going to honor law enforcement, then let's honor the brave men and women of the United States Capitol Police and all levels of local, State, and Federal law enforcement that defended us in this body on January 6, 2021, when a violent group of rightwing MAGA extremists came and launched an insurrection against this body.

I was trapped in the gallery right there, right there in those seats.


Ms. JAYAPAL. Mr. Speaker, long after other people were evacuated from the gallery, some of my friends and I were trapped there. We saw everything happen.

I introduced an amendment to honor those Federal law enforcement people, and do you know what? Republicans could have taken it and voted against it if they wanted to show where they stand, but they didn't. They hid behind a ridiculous assertion of germaneness and essentially silenced our voices.

I think we have to be real about what this resolution is, and with great respect to my friend from Colorado, we want accountability of all agencies.

They want to defend Federal law enforcement. We want to honor all law enforcement, including those who defended us here at the Capitol on January 6.

Let my Republican colleagues call out that it was an insurrection on January 6 and that our Federal law enforcement and local law enforcement that defended us here deserve the same honor that they are planning to give to local law enforcement.

Let's honor all law enforcement, and let's take out the references to progressives, which I take great offense to.

Mr. Speaker, I vote ``no'' on this resolution, and I call on my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this partisan and, frankly, hypocritical resolution.