House Democrats, who have spent months trying to assemble a package of police funding bills to help fight campaign trail attacks, struggled Thursday morning to get the votes, according to a source familiar with the case.
Several progressive Democrats have threatened to vote against, and the House went into recess as the leadership tried to resolve it. According to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Several other progressive Democrats plan to vote no, so the vote will be close, but it is expected to pass.
House Democrats are including a series of four bills as part of their package on policing and public safety – the Mental Health Justice Act of 2022, the Invest to Protect Act of 2022, the Break the Cycle of Violence Act and the VICTIM Act of 2022.
Tense mood in the House of Representatives to open debate
The House of Representatives removed a procedural hurdle on Thursday afternoon to open the debate on the legislative package. However, the vote was extremely close, a sign of how tight the voting math is for Democrats on the legislation. Pressley voted in attendance at the procedural vote to begin the debate on the bills.
There were some tense moments on the House floor as Democrats tried to figure out how to get the votes needed to pass police laws during the procedural vote.
Progressive Representative Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who negotiated the bills, huddled with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and bit her fingernails near the podium.
The minority group leader, Kevin McCarthy, tried to hold up the vote, saying there was a member three minutes away who could vote. When the bills were passed, Democrats cheered on the floor.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat and one of four progressives who voted against her party’s police package during the procedural vote to start the debate, expressed frustration with the Democratic leadership of the House after Democrats sipped the package. had suggested.
“I think it’s very clear that this is about our party’s leadership with certain rules for some members and a different standard of rules for others,” Ocasio-Cortez told DailyExpertNews.
Ocasio-Cortez said she was frustrated because two of the bills didn’t go through the committees properly. She said she does not understand why this package should contain four pieces of legislation, while progressives have expressed concerns about some of the police funding.
“I’m really struggling to hear if I haven’t heard an explanation as to why those two bills aren’t properly presented to the floor on their own merits. And why do they have to be packed with a piece of legislation that no one has seen the final version of until yesterday, ” she said.
Asked if she disagrees with Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal and Omar, who serves as the whip of the Progressive Caucus, who voted for the package, Ocasio-Cortez said they support the caucus and she supports her district .
“We saw that the vast majority of the progressive caucus supported the rule. So you know they function in their role as leaders of the caucus, but we also exist as individual members representing our own communities. And so I think that they spoke and they had the votes in their caucus. And we just function as representatives of our districts,” she said.
Missouri Progressive Representative Cori Bush, who also voted against the package in the procedural vote, told DailyExpertNews, “We weren’t the problem.”
“Where is the responsibility of the police?” she asked. “You know, when does that happen? When does that come into play.”
Omar told reporters it “took a lot for us to get here” with the vote to move forward the police laws negotiated by various factions of the party.
When asked if she is confident Democrats can get enough votes to pass the bills, she said she hopes they can.
“You can never be sure here,” she said. “I just came in thinking there’s going to be that glitch and hiccups by the end and we’re all going to feel like we were in labor, you know, taking the last push, so I can’t tell you what will But I am optimistic that the bills will have life and that we will move forward.”
How the mood came together
The legislation is primarily a messaging package heading into the midterms as moderate members of the Democratic House have tried to protect themselves from political attacks for being anti-police.
Democratic Representative Josh Gottheimer, the sponsor of the Invest to Protect Act, said in a statement ahead of the vote that the legislation “is about investing in good policing and protecting our families and our officers. It will ensure that local chapters, in New Jersey and communities across our country, have what they need to recruit and retain the best officers, train and invest in providing mental health care.”
This story and headline were updated Thursday with additional developments.
Manu Raju and Kristin Wilson of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.