House Democrats have canceled plans to vote on several public safety bills this month due to continued disagreements between moderate and progressive members of the party about police funding and accountability.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday, that Democrats will concentrate on passing the massive taxation and social spending bill, also known as the Inflation Reduction Act. This buys more time for the party in order to agree on the law enforcement legislation.
In a Wednesday press release, she stated that “This week our focus must still be on passing the [Inflation Reduction Act]”, while conversations continue to find consensus for a strong public safety package.”
“House Democrats can take great pride in the work this Congress has done to protect America’s families and public safety. The President has signed landmark legislation to prevent gun violence, and the House voted in favor of legislation restoring the Assault Weapons Ban. She added that this, too, increases people’s leverage – this time over the gun industry.”
This is the second time that Democrats have delayed the vote on the legislation relating to police. They originally planned to address the issue last month, when the House passed an “assault weapons ban”.
The party resisted considering a number of bills that would have created federal grants to communities for new police officers, violence intervention programs, and mental health resources. These measures quickly became controversial within Democratic Party.
To stop attacks by the GOP that Democrats are the party defunding police, moderates wanted it to be passed quickly. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and progressives voiced reservations about giving additional money to police brutality without ensuring accountability.
“We must ensure that there are strong accountability provisions and that we actually ensure public safety for all,” stated Pramila Jayapal (Washington Rep.), the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
The Senate passed Sunday’s Inflation Reduction Act, just weeks after Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had announced an agreement to reconcile a package that included portions of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, which Manchin destroyed in December.
The Inflation Reduction Act provides $433 billion for new green energy programs and expanded Affordable Care Act benefits. This new spending would be funded by $739 billion in additional revenue from corporations through an increase in their corporate taxes and stricter IRS enforcement.
The surplus would be offset by the balance of additional revenue. Democrats insist that the bill will lower inflation in the future. However, Republicans and independent experts say the impact will not be significant.