Seven Republican senators have written President Joe Biden to express concern over his expected police reform executive order, the Washington Examiner reported.
Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and five colleagues warned that the executive order would defund state and local police departments.
"These hard-left policies are extremely ill-advised, dangerous to Americans, and would only further demoralize law enforcement," the senators wrote in the letter sent to Biden on Friday, the Examiner reported.
"We are baffled as to why this administration would want to implement this [executive order], which is tantamount to defunding the police."
One objection to the order concerned a ban on common equipment used by local law enforcement, the Examiner said. A draft of the progressive executive order says such equipment contributes to the "militarization" of police forces.
Among the items that police departments would be unable to purchase are flash or stun grenades — nonlethal tools used by enforcement to disorient suspects in dangerous situations — and nearly all drones and long-range acoustic devices.
Armored cars, which police use to navigate in active shooting situations, also would be off limits, the Examiner reported.
The executive order requires "supporting alternatives to arrest and incarceration" and implementing diversity recruiting and training programs.
The GOP senators also opposed the draft order's enforcement structure, which penalizes police departments that don't comply with many of the provisions. One form of punishment is denying access to money from the Community Oriented Policing Services grant program and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant program.
Biden could be seen as taking steps to appease progressives and liberal activists via executive orders after his roughly $2 trillion social spending and climate legislation stalled in Congress.
Lawmakers have failed to advance police reform after making sporadic attempts to do so in recent years.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., promoted reform legislation that included banning chokeholds by federal law enforcement officers and mandating more reporting on police use of force nationwide. Senate Democrats, claiming Scott’s legislation didn’t go far enough, blocked the bill in June 2020.
Negotiations ended this past September after Scott refused to tie police funding to a range of reform requirements.
"I offered to introduce a bill that included our areas of compromise — a bill that activists and law enforcement alike could have supported," Scott said when the talks broke down.
"Despite having plenty of agreement, Democrats said no because they could not let go of their push to defund our law enforcement."
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