GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police

GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police
© Aaron Schwartz

Republican senators introduced a resolution on Tuesday to formally oppose calls to "defund the police," an idea that has gained traction with some activist groups.

If passed, the nonbinding resolution, spearheaded by Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonMcConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House MORE (R-Ark.), would put the Senate on record opposing efforts to defund the police while also calling for "justice" for George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody last month. 

Cotton will try to pass the resolution on Wednesday by unanimous consent, according to his office, which will allow any one senator to object and block it under the chamber's rules. 


In addition to Cotton, GOP Sens. Marsha BlackburnMarsha Blackburn2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Blackburn introduces bill to require migrant DNA testing at border Bottom line MORE (Tenn.), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThune: 'There are Republicans who would vote' for smaller infrastructure package Republicans can't handle the truth about taxes Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge MORE (Mo.), Kevin CramerKevin John CramerBiden administration faces big decision on whether to wade into Dakota Access fight OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation | Interior reverses course on tribal ownership of portion of Missouri river | White House climate adviser meets with oil and gas companies Senate GOP pushes back on list of participants in oil and gas leasing forum MORE (N.D.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBoehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges Boehner finally calls it as he sees it MORE (Texas), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstTrump faces test of power with early endorsements GOP looks to squeeze Biden, Democrats on border Blackburn introduces bill to require migrant DNA testing at border MORE (Iowa), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyMcConnell in tricky spot with GOP, big biz Pence autobiography coming from Simon & Schuster The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's infrastructure plan triggers definition debate MORE (Mo.), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyArizona state senator announces bid for Kirkpatrick's seat Democratic Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick says she won't seek reelection Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (Ariz.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (Pa.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure 100 business executives discuss how to combat new voting rules: report Arkansas governor says 'divisive' Trump attacks on GOP officials are 'unhelpful' MORE (R-Ky.) are supporting the resolution.

The resolution calls Floyd's death by a Minneapolis police officer a "horrific act that violated the public trust and was inconsistent with the values and conduct expected of law enforcement officers" and that "good law enforcement cannot exist without accountability and justice."

But it would also warn against understaffing or defunding police departments.

A majority of the Minneapolis City Council has gone a step further and said they will vote to disband the city's police department. 

The resolution notes that "understaffed police departments and undertrained police officers increase the risk of encounters that result in the use of force, including unjustifiable or excessive force."


It also states that "defunding the police would leave police departments understaffed and undertrained, while also increasing the risk of violent crime to the communities of the United States."

No senator has said that they support completely defunding police departments, though a number of progressives have urged lawmakers to curb funding.

Democrats unveiled a wide-ranging police reform bill this week, with leadership closing the door to trying to defund police departments through congressional legislation. 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFederal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day MORE, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, also has said he does not support defunding police departments. 

"No, I don't support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness," Biden told CBS News.

Republicans have seized on calls by some activists to defund the police, signaling they plan to try to make it an issue heading into the November election. 

Both the House and Senate GOP campaign arms knocked Democrats on Monday, characterizing the defunding debate as a new “purity test” for congressional candidates. 

“We’re already seeing outlandish calls, defund the police or abolish the police, take root within the left-wing leadership class,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.