GOP lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill that would restrict federal funding to U.S. jurisdictions that do not support the rule of law.
The “Lawless Cities Accountability Act,” whose chief sponsor is Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), makes the case that if jurisdictions do not enforce the rule of law and protect residents, they should not have access to federal funding.
The proposed law is based on a memorandum that was issued by former President Donald Trump in early September 2020 following months of violent protests across multiple American cities. It ordered a review of federal funding to certain state and local governments deemed to be “permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction in American cities” in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
President Joe Biden in February revoked the memo.
The latest GOP-backed bill, introduced during National Police Week, would revoke federal funding to state or local jurisdictions deemed by the Attorney General as “lawless.”
The term, according to a release (below) from Rosendale’s office, refers to jurisdictions that: forbid law enforcement from intervening amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction; withdraw law enforcement protection from a certain area that they are legally entitled to access; defund or disempowers law enforcement agencies; and/or refuse to accept federal law enforcement assistance amid widespread violence or destruction.
“It’s obvious how important policing is to maintain communities and keep its citizens safe,” Rosendale said in a statement. “Cities that decided to strip funding from their police departments have seen a major increase in violent crime committed, putting Americans at risk.”
He added, “No federal funds should be given to cities that continue to encourage criminal rioting and lawlessness. We cannot allow these jurisdictions to jeopardize the progress we have made as a nation to fight crime.”
Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), a cosponsor of the bill, said in a statement that taxpayer money “should not be provided to cities that defund their police and do not allow them to do their job.”
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Rep. Rosendale Introduces Act To Restrict Funding To Lawless Cities
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Representative Rosendale introduced the Lawless Cities Accountability Act. This bill is based on President Trump’s memorandum issued in the wake of violent protests by “Black Lives Matter” and “Antifa” rioters, which was later rescinded by President Biden. The rhetoric against our law enforcement officers and their ability to keep the peace in many of our metropolitan cities is under assault, and we have seen many cities having to brace for riots throughout the year depending on how a court case is decided.
The Lawless Cities Accountability Act would support the rule of law by barring funding to a jurisdiction that the Attorney General determines is a “lawless jurisdiction.” The term lawless jurisdictions is defined as a State or political subdivision of a State that:
- Forbids a law enforcement agency from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction
- Withdraws law enforcement protection from a geographical area or structure that law enforcement officers are lawfully entitled to access
- Disempowers or defunds law enforcement agencies
- Refuses to accept an offer of law enforcement assistance from the Federal Government amid widespread violence or destruction
The failure of cities to enforce the rule of law has severe consequences and costs lives. In 2020, homicides in major American cities skyrocketed by 33 percent, a trend that continued into the first quarter of 2021. In cities such as Portland and Minneapolis, the surge of death and destruction were even starker as homicides increased by 733 percent in Portland and 82 percent in Minneapolis.
The core function of the United States Government is to protect the lives and property of all Americans from unlawful acts such as violence and destruction. If jurisdictions fail to enforce the rule of law and protect their residents, their federal funding should be revoked.
On National Police Week, this bill sends a strong message of support for the rule of law, and those who maintain law and order.
“It’s obvious how important policing is to maintain communities and keep its citizens safe,” Rep. Rosendale said. “Cities that decided to strip funding from their police departments have seen a major increase in violent crime committed, putting Americans at risk. No federal funds should be given to cities that continue to encourage criminal rioting and lawlessness. We cannot allow these jurisdictions to jeopardize the progress we have made as a nation to fight crime.”
“I will always stand behind the law enforcement officers who honorably serve their communities. These brave individuals selflessly put their lives on the line to protect my family and yours. Efforts to “defund” our police departments is an affront to both law & order and those who uphold it. That is why I am proud to cosponsor the Lawless Cities Accountability Act, and I appreciate Rep. Rosendale’s leadership on this important matter. May God bless those who walk the Thin Blue Line,” said Representative Norman (SC-5).
“Keeping citizens safe should be the top priority of every elected official,” said Representative Babin (TX-36). “Last year, we watched as cities across America were ravaged by violence and crime because their leaders repeatedly chose to abandon law enforcement and bend the knee to the radical Left. We are a nation of law and order, and we should be working to support police departments more, not less. City officials who willingly ignore the rule of law, fight to defund law enforcement, and allow chaos to reign supreme, should not be given federal funds – plain and simple.”
“We must defend the rule of law in America. This includes empowering our police officers and law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order in our communities. I cosponsored the Lawless Cities Accountability Act, which would block the funding of cities that do not support the rule of law. Taxpayer money should not be provided to cities that defund their police and do not allow them to do their job,” said Representative Mooney (WV-02)
“Throughout 2020, we witnessed anarchists take to the streets and destroy historic monuments, vandalize and burn small businesses, and harass regular Americans who were simply enjoying an outdoor dinner,” said Representative Budd (NC-13). The fact that this activity goes on and is tolerated by Democrat-run cities is outrageous and an insult to every law-abiding citizen of our land. Violence like this has no place in America. We need to strip federal funding from cities that refuse to confront this lawlessness in their communities. Thanks to Rep. Rosendale for leading a bill that holds lawless cities accountable.”