GOP senator seeks to block restrictions on Pentagon giving weapons to police
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Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) wants to block the Obama administration from restricting the Defense Department from transferring excess equipment to local law enforcement. 

The senator, who faces what could be a challenging reelection race next year, is offering an amendment to an annual defense policy bill that would prohibit any regulation or policy that restricts the federal government from selling or donating its excess material to a state or local agency. 

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President Obama earlier this year announced that the administration would place limits on military-style equipment transferred from the federal government to local law enforcement.  

The issue rose to national attention last August, when police in Ferguson, Mo., were criticized for their response to protestors surrounding the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

News footage showed police in Ferguson armed with military-grade weapons, something that provoked criticism from both sides of the aisle.

Toomey in a letter to Obama argued his restrictions would block police from getting “lifesaving, federal equipment.”

“I do not object to withholding certain federal equipment from local police forces: Some items are never appropriate for domestic law enforcement,” he added. "After all, we are unlikely to hear many complaints over a ban on bayonets, given that our military has not led a bayonet charge since the Korean War.”

Toomey's amendment does leave room for Congress to pass legislation limiting what can be given to state and local law enforcement, noting that any rule won't have any force or effect “unless enacted into law by Congress.”