On Friday afternoon, a group of Senate Republicans sent a letter to President Joe Biden condemning his administration’s “plan to defund, deprive police of critical lifesaving resources by executive fiat.”
The Senators, led by Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley of Iowa, expressed extreme concern over Biden’s proposed executive order (EO) that limits law enforcement’s access to nonlethal and lifesaving resources.
“Dear Mr. President,” the letter begins:
According to recent news reports, the White House is working with the Department of Justice on an executive order (hereinafter, “EO”) that would impose various police reforms and criminal-justice reforms on federal law enforcement, and possibly on state and local law enforcement, without Congress passing police reform or criminal justice reform legislation. Specifically, according to screenshots of a draft of such EO, the Administration would unilaterally impose the following new policies on law enforcement: restrictions to the 1033 program, expanding pattern and practice authority, planned expansion of 18 U.S.C § 242 prosecutions, and conditioning state and local law enforcement grants…
…Police officers will face a grim reality if this EO is enacted and their lifesaving equipment is restricted from them. Violent crime will continue to skyrocket when police officers are unable to stop these crimes and save innocent lives. We cannot understand why any elected official would want to stop law enforcement from safely doing their jobs other than to be able to tell their base of voters they are defunding the police.
In addition to Grassley, the letter was signed by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Judiciary Committee members Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
The Senators say the restrictions “would come at a time when law enforcement needs our support more than ever.” Report after report shows homicides and violent crimes across the country are surging to record-breaking levels.
Amongst the most terrifying potential consequences is that the EO includes a section stating “the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall also use all tools at their disposal to promote adoption of the provisions of this executive order.”
The Senators point out in the letter that “this section is extremely concerning. It clearly lays out the groundwork for the Attorney General to strip power from the states and force them to comply with conditions on grants.”