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House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

Texas Rep. Monica De La Cruz celebrated a police funding initiative that her caucus now wants to eliminate.

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
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Rep. Monica de la Cruz, R-Texas, greets supporters as she campaigns in the U.S. Congressional TX-15 district race at a polling place at Lark Community Center on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in McAllen, Texas. (Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP)

To mark National Police Week, House Republicans are introducing a series of bills designed to illustrate their pro-law enforcement bona fides. But a review of a proposed budget shows that several Republicans would actually support defunding local police departments.

The Republican Study Committee released their Fiscal Year 2025 budget proposal in March. The budget would slash the Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) program, which provides federal funds to help with police department expenses like salaries, court programs, officer recruitment, and juvenile justice initiatives.

“Conservatives support our men and women in blue but should question whether the government should involve itself in state and local law enforcement, even if it is only a matter of funding,” the budget states.

The Republican Study Committee is a conservative caucus within the House of Representatives that has existed since 1973. Every year, they put forth a budget that usually proposes sweeping and draconian cuts in federal spending.

Twelve members of the Republican Study Committee officially signed onto the proposed 2025 budget. Some Republicans have expressed hesitancy about the specifics of the budget. There has not yet been a floor vote to gauge support.

Several Republican Study Committee members have police departments in their districts that benefited from COPS funding. Rep. Kevin Kiley’s California district received $500,000, Rep. Zach Nunn’s Iowa district received $375,000, Rep. Ryan Zinke’s Montana district received $350,000, Rep. Don Bacon’s district received $250,000, Rep. Richard Hudson’s North Carolina district received $193,000, and Rep. John James’ Michigan district received $125,000.

Rep. Elise Stefanik’s New York district received $375,000. Rep. Brandon Williams’ New York district received more than $1.6 million.

Texas Rep. Monica De La Cruz held an event in November 2023 to celebrate COPS investments in her district. She boasted about the event in a social media post and included photos of herself posing with law enforcement officers.

“Pleased to have announced the $1 million COPS Grant for Mission PD to hire eight new police officers,” De La Cruz wrote. “These new officers will keep the citizens of Mission and Hidalgo County safe.”

A spokesperson for De La Cruz did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

Making cuts to the COPS program could undermine previous legislation that some Republican Study Committee members supported.

In 2021, Rep. Mike Garcia of California co-sponsored the Public Safety Enhancement Act which would have reauthorized the COPS program through 2026.

“In Los Angeles County and across California, we have seen firsthand what happens when we defund our police departments and reduce the consequences for committing crimes,” Garcia said in a press release at the time. “I am proud to co-sponsor this common sense legislation to get more police officers on our streets and increase public safety in our communities.”

Bacon, Stefanik, and Hudson also cosponsored the Public Safety Enhancement Act. The legislation did not receive a vote.

Last year, Bacon cosponsored the Ensuring Safer Schools Act, which would have authorized COPS funds to be used to hire school resource officers. Bacon, along with fellow Republican Study Committee member Rep. Bryan Steil of Wisconsin, also cosponsored the POWER Act 0f 2023, which would have allowed COPS funds to be spent on chemical screening technology.

Neither bill received a vote.

In a May 15 press conference, Speaker Mike Johnson was asked about cuts to the COPS program in the Republican Study Committee budget. He claimed he has not looked at the specifics of the proposal.

Johnson was chairman of the Republican Study Committee from 2019 to 2021. In 2019, the committee proposed making similar cuts to the COPS program.


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