House Democrats passed a controversial police reform bill late on Wednesday evening that critics argue would effectively “defund the police” by costing police departments across the country hundreds of millions of dollars that they say will force those departments to make cuts to their budgets.
There was bipartisan support against the bill and only partisan Democrat support for it. The vote was initially passed with 219 Democrat votes and 1 Republican vote with 210 Republicans opposing it and 2 Democrats opposing it. However, the lone Republican that voted for it, Rep. Lance Gooden (TX), announced that he accidentally voted for the bill and that he changed his official record to vote against the bill.
“Democrats just voted to defund the police,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said in a statement. “The unfunded mandates in their bill, H.R. 1280, would cost police departments hundreds of millions of dollars—the equivalent of taking 3,000 cops or more off the streets. Our men and women in uniform deserve better.”
Jason Smith (R-MO), Ranking Member on the Budget Committee, and Jim Jordan (R-OH), Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Congressional Budget Office Director Phillip Swagel highlighting their concerns with the bill.
“It is our understanding that H.R. 1280 contains provisions that significantly violate the current Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) threshold of $85 million,” the letter stated. “It is further our understanding that these provisions may in fact result in additional costs to state, local, and tribal governments totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars which would deprive these localities of the resources needed to provide adequate policing and public safety services in their communities.”