Jun 25 2020
07:49 pm

US Rep.Tim Burchett (TN-2) sent out this press release today. I think he's a mostly decent guy, just misguided sometimes. Anyway, here's an analysis of his latest Trump friendly missive...

For Immediate Release: June 25, 2020

Rep. Burchett: Justice in Policing Act is an attempt to federalize state and local law enforcement

Legislation would limit police departments from meeting safety needs in their respective communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 25, 2020) – Today, U.S. Representative Tim Burchett (TN-02) will vote against H.R. 7120, the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. This legislation was crafted solely by House Democrats -- with no input from House Republicans – in response to the senseless murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers last month.

Perhaps there's no input from Republicans because they have no plan other than to reelect Trump. They won't work with Democrats on anything constructive. Their plan is obstruct, obstruct, obstruct.

"Our constituents expect us to come to D.C. and work together to fix problems, but that’s not what’s happening in Congress these days,” said Rep. Burchett. “Yes, our country needs to prevent the killing of unarmed Americans but forcing one-size-fits-all federal standards on state and local governments will put law abiding citizens at risk."

OK, then. What is your plan? It seems law abiding citizens are at great risk, depending on the color of their skin.

In addition to taking decision-making power away from duly elected state and local officials, the Justice in Policing Act ends the 1033 program, which would prevent federal, state and local law enforcement departments from purchasing unused small arms and ammunition from our military. This restriction would apply to agencies like the Drug Enforcement Agency, United States Border Patrol and undercover law enforcement units that pursue potentially dangerous individuals and groups. The Justice in Policing Act also establishes a publicly available police database for officers with records of misconduct, including officers who were investigated for misconduct but cleared of any wrongdoing.

So much to unpack. Perhaps Congress has realized that there are systemic problems in state and local law enforcement, and that federal law is needed to reign them in. Does the Civil Rights Act ring a bell? Who has more power, Congress or police unions? Further, there's growing support for demilitarizing local police departments. These military "small arms" are weapons of war. Is Rep. Burchett suggesting that police departments are at war with the citizens they are sworn to protect and serve? OK, sure, DEA, Border Patrol, etc. may need such weapons and tactics at times. Why shouldn't there be oversight? As for a database of bad cops, there's growing evidence that they get fired and just move one jurisdiction over. Even when they're cleared, there are growing concerns about police unions and politics keeping bad cops on the street. What's the problem with weeding out bad cops?

Despite some of the poison pills included in the Justice in Policing Act, it shares many similarities with the JUSTICE Act, which was originally introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) last week. Rep. Burchett is an original co-sponsor of the House version of the JUSTICE Act.

The Senate held a vote to begin debate on the JUSTICE Act earlier this week. However, despite being offered the opportunity to propose amendments to the bill, Senate Democrats voted to block the JUSTICE Act from even being debated. Rep. Burchett pointed out Democrats’ unwillingness to negotiate with Republicans in either chamber does nothing to move the national conversation forward.

There's no negotiating with Senate Republicans. See: Mitch McConnell, Trump's second biggest enabler after Barr. The only negotiation is at the ballot box in November. Vote them out.

"Partisan grandstanding needs to stop and my colleagues across the aisle need to abandon their ‘my way or the highway’ attitude on this issue. The American people want Congress to act right now and nothing will be accomplished if there isn’t even an attempt to work together,” said Rep. Burchett.

This press release is the textbook definition of partisan grandstanding. The American people want Congress to act right now to protect us from Republicans in Congress and the White House. The accusation that there "isn't even an attempt to work together" is laughable. We all know what this is. This is red meat pandering to the Trump base. Seriously, y'all, we need to vote to stop this or you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Treehouse's picture


I forwarded your comments to Burchett saying I completely agree with them.

fischbobber's picture

Given the tone of Representative Burchett's press release

I thought you were pretty polite and easy on the guy. Read Betty Bean's story. There were 14 militarily armed swat team members entered without securing permission from the owner with what turned out to be a bogus warrant for a criminal act that was actually a clerical error due to a government that at the state and county level is non-functional, his application to grow medical grade hemp was sitting on a republican led government bureaucrats desk, yes , our state and local government can't even process permits in a timely manner.

Fourteen armed men with automatic battlefield weapons came charging into this guys house over what turned out to be a clerical error, and Tim Burchett's solution is that he's pissed because he can't sell the terrorists more surplus military weapons. How about a tank? Then they could have rolled right through the living room. And your legislation is for more weapons to the cops. What's wrong with this picture?

The pure stupidity of some of the stuff Tim is doing is mind boggling to me. I keep finding myself wondering, "Have you lost your ever-loving mind?"

As I said, you were more than fair and polite. And I agree with everything you said.

Mike Knapp's picture

Spot on

The blather is all they have. They can’t really govern, but they can hold and yield power which they clearly intend to do at any cost. Reading your solid rebuttal reminded me of this elegant piece recently in the New York Review by one of our times’ best essayists, Fintan O’Toole.

This continuity between the Trump of 1989 and the man in the White House in 2020 is also the return of the barely repressed. The complex of images on which he drew in this first big statement on domestic politics—white victimhood, rape, killing black men as an “example” to others, unshackling as a metaphor, not for the end of slavery but for the necessary violence of the police in defense of “life as we knew it” (with no doubt about who “we” are)—is the mental structure within which black men can be done to death by the police and white vigilantes. When people talk of Trump’s id, this is surely part of it. But it is also America’s id, and, through Trump, this putrid leftover from the unfinished Civil War has now reoccupied the seat of power.

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