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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 CottonLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection More conservatives break with Trump over election claims Warnock hit by Republicans over 'cannot serve God and the military' comment 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. 

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In addition to Cotton, GOP Sens. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnSunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus Senate Judiciary to vote on subpoena for Twitter CEO next week MORE (Tenn.), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntMcConnell wants deal this week on fiscal 2021 spending figures Graham becomes center of Georgia storm Republicans start turning the page on Trump era MORE (Mo.), Kevin CramerKevin John CramerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks Pressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday MORE (N.D.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMcSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview Republican senators urge Trump to label West Bank goods as 'Made in Israel' MORE (Texas), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Memo: Trump plows ahead with efforts to overturn election More conservatives break with Trump over election claims Peggy Noonan: 'Bogus dispute' by Trump 'doing real damage' MORE (Iowa), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Rush Limbaugh lauds Hawley: 'This guy is the real deal' Trump told advisers he could announce 2024 bid shortly after certification of Biden win: report MORE (Mo.), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyTrump nominee's long road to Fed may be dead end McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol McSally's final floor speech: 'I gave it my all, and I left it all on the field' MORE (Ariz.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyAppeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy MORE (Pa.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFeinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee Voters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus 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."

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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 BidenBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit Protect our world: How the Biden administration can save lives and economies worldwide 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.

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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.