WASHINGTON - Congressman Wittman released the following statement after voting against the Democrat’s partisan police reform bill - H.R. 7120:
“We know if things need to get done, they need to be done in a bipartisan way with input and buy-in from both sides. That’s how we were able to get things done in response to the Coronavirus. The Democrats know this and yet they refused to work with Republicans to craft a police reform bill that included items we all support and actually has a chance of being signed into law. Today, the Democrats brought their police reform legislation, H.R. 7120, to the floor for a vote. This measure was drafted unilaterally, without seeking out or including any Republican input, and without allowing any amendments to be added on the floor. Even before this measure reached the floor, all Republican amendments offered in the Judiciary Committee and the Rules Committee were rejected, disallowing any Republican input whatsoever in this process. The fact that there was no effort from the Democrats to include Republicans suggests that this bill was meant as a messaging bill and not a serious piece of legislation.
“Simply put, we need to do this together. But, unfortunately, H.R. 7120 presents significant due process concerns, has unvetted provisions, and could ultimately have unnecessary negative impacts on officer and community safety. I believe we must work to deliver real reform aimed at making our communities better and safer, which is why I cosponsored the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act. This bill offers real solutions to increase transparency, accountability, and performance so our nation’s law enforcement officers are better prepared to protect and care for the communities they serve. These policies will build upon the directives in President Trump’s Executive Order to develop policies that encourage proactive police strategies to address concerns and strengthen and build upon the relationships that ensure the safety and security of all communities.
“Unlike with H.R. 7120, Senate Republicans allowed Democrats to propose amendments to the JUSTICE Act so it could be negotiated and passed on a bipartisan basis. I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to set aside politics and work with us to pass reforms that will unify the nation and bring about real and lasting change.”
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.