September 21, 2022
WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Representative Ilhan Omar (MN-05), whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on negotiations surrounding legislation on public safety and policing:
“After significant, deliberate negotiations, we are pleased to share that when the House of Representatives votes on the Invest to Protect Act, the bill will include a number of reforms to ensure funds are used to support smaller police departments to invest in de-escalation and other important training, data collection, and mental health. In addition, the bill will be part of a package with other evidence-based, holistic legislation that addresses public safety and unifies the Democratic Caucus.
“Through our constructive and productive deliberations with the bill’s author Representative Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), we were able to secure critical improvements to target funding to smaller police departments, as the spirit of the legislation intends; to give the Department of Justice the ability to preference applicants that use the funds for officer training to improve community safety and accountability; and to allow the funding to not only go to officer pay and training, but also be used for data collection regarding police and community safety.
“The research is clear that the safest communities take a comprehensive view of what their communities need, and invest in policing as part of a larger whole-of-government approach — funding social services and supports as well, rather than asking police officers to fill every role in the work of keeping our neighbors safe. That is why we are gratified that the House package will also include other important legislation: CPC Deputy Chair Representative Katie Porter (CA-45)’s Mental Health Justice Act to send unarmed, trained first responders to those experiencing mental-health crises and reduce fatal encounters between police and people with mental illness; Representative Steven Horsford (NV-04)’s Break the Cycle of Violence Act to provide federal grants for communities for evidence-based violence intervention and prevention programs; and Representative Val Demings’ (FL-10) VICTIM Act to improve the ability of law enforcement to solve gun crimes, support victims, and ensure justice for shooting victims. With this package, House Democrats have the opportunity to model a holistic, inclusive approach to public safety, and keep our promise to families across the country to address this issue at the federal level.”