Cotton and Schumer spar over defunding police.
Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer exchanged words on the Senate floor Wednesday when Schumer objected to a resolution by Cotton opposing efforts to defund the police.
Cotton’s resolution called for justice for George Floyd while also saying that defunding police would leave police departments understaffed and undertrained.
“We must reject radical proposals to dismantle and defund police departments as some suggested. Defunding the police would be deadly. It isn’t a solution but an insult to good officers and a threat to law-abiding citizens,” Cotton said.
Cotton tried to pass the resolution by unanimous consent, which allows for any one senator to block it.
Schumer accused Cotton’s resolution of being nothing more than rhetoric.
“The great worry so many Americans have is that so many on the other side will feel rhetoric and then try to let this go away,” Schumer said. “We demand action, and we demand it now. Real action, not rhetoric.”
The resolution was cosponsored by many GOP senators including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Josh Hawley of Missouri.
“We know that violent crime disproportionally affects low-income communities, and that law enforcement plays a critical role in protecting life and preserving a free and functioning society,” Cruz said. “We also know that law enforcement has an important responsibility in upholding our criminal justice system. Though our nation has taken many troubled turns on our continuing march toward justice, defunding and abolishing police departments will undoubtedly take us backward in that endeavor.”
Following his objection to Cotton’s resolution, Schumer offered his own police reform plan, but was immediately blocked by Cotton.
“I just say again that what we’re seeing here is the Democratic leader apparently objecting on behalf of the Democratic Party in defense of the radical idea that we should defund the police,” said Cotton.
Congressional Democrats have mainly been silent on the notion of defunding police departments and have instead by trying to keep the focus on their police reform bill. A bill by House Democrats is expected to pass the House but not the Republican-controlled Senate.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott is currently working on a more bipartisan bill.
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