Rep. Burchett: Justice in Policing Act is an attempt to federalize state and local law enforcement

June 25, 2020
Press Release
Legislation would limit police departments from meeting safety needs in their respective communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 25, 2020) – Today, U.S. Representative Tim Burchett (TN-02) will vote against H.R. 7120, the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. This legislation was crafted solely by House Democrats -- with no input from House Republicans – in response to the senseless murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers last month.

"Our constituents expect us to come to D.C. and work together to fix problems, but that’s not what’s happening in Congress these days,” said Rep. Burchett. “Yes, our country needs to prevent the killing of unarmed Americans but forcing one-size-fits-all federal standards on state and local governments will put law abiding citizens at risk."

In addition to taking decision-making power away from duly elected state and local officials, the Justice in Policing Act ends the 1033 program, which would prevent federal, state and local law enforcement departments from purchasing unused small arms and ammunition from our military. This restriction would apply to agencies like the Drug Enforcement Agency, United States Border Patrol and undercover law enforcement units that pursue potentially dangerous individuals and groups. The Justice in Policing Act also establishes a publicly available police database for officers with records of misconduct, including officers who were investigated for misconduct but cleared of any wrongdoing.

Despite some of the poison pills included in the Justice in Policing Act, it shares many similarities with the JUSTICE Act, which was originally introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) last week. Rep. Burchett is an original co-sponsor of the House version of the JUSTICE Act.

The Senate held a vote to begin debate on the JUSTICE Act earlier this week. However, despite being offered the opportunity to propose amendments to the bill, Senate Democrats voted to block the JUSTICE Act from even being debated. Rep. Burchett pointed out Democrats’ unwillingness to negotiate with Republicans in either chamber does nothing to move the national conversation forward.

"Partisan grandstanding needs to stop and my colleagues across the aisle need to abandon their ‘my way or the highway’ attitude on this issue. The American people want Congress to act right now and nothing will be accomplished if there isn’t even an attempt to work together,” said Rep. Burchett.