After an unplanned two-and-a-half-hour long recess, the House of Representatives passed four bills on Thursday that will increase funding for police, social, and mental health programs.
The Break the Cycle of Violence Act (1.5 billion), the Invest to Protect Act (250 million), the VICTIM Act (1 billion), and the Mental Health Justice Act would combine to allocate up to $2.75 billion to states and locales for a variety of projects. The Invest to Protect Act and the VICTIM Act passed with strong bipartisan support, while three Republicans joined with Democrats in voting for the Mental Health Justice Act. The Break the Cycle of Violence Act passed entirely along party lines.
“Crime and violence don’t happen in a vacuum. It happens when people lose hope and don’t see opportunity in their lives or readily available in their communities. For decades, politicians in this chamber have stoked fear about urban crime to divide us, while refusing to invest in real solutions,” Democratic Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford, the lead sponsor of the Break the Cycle of Violence Act, said in a floor speech advocating for the legislation.
Democrats running in swing districts urged Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to bring the bills for a vote, as campaigning Republicans have repeatedly hit Democrats on rising crime rates. Left-wing Democrats were able to successfully kill the re-authorization of two bills that would help fund police recruitment and salaries. Four Democrats, New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, negotiated the four bills’ passage, coming to an agreement on Wednesday, according to Politico.
Pelosi was forced to call a recess Thursday morning after five members of the left-wing “Squad” threatened to derail the agreement by voting against a debate rules resolution for all four bills. Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley ultimately changed her vote on the resolution to “present,” allowing the House to debate and vote. (RELATED: Rep. Cori Bush Says She Won’t Ditch ‘Defund The Police’ Ahead Of 2022 Midterms)
The House will vote now after a 2 1/2 hour delay. Democratic leadership worked to find the votes to pass bills that would provide millions of dollars for policing measures.
A handful of progressives were said to have not been in favor of the measures.
— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) September 22, 2022
“It is head spinning that House Democrats either want to defund the police, as Judiciary Committee member Cori Bush does, or they want to federalize the police as Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler does,” Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said on the House floor. “As places like Detroit, Chicago, almost every major metropolitan area in California defund their police as some virtue signal, as some way to sacrifice the safety of their constituents on the altar of wokeism, now they want my Florida constituents to subsidize the bad decisions that they make at the state and local level.”
The bills are not likely to pass the Senate before the end of the current term.