Chairman Cole Hearing Remarks on Police Week Measures

As prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon. Today’s hearing falls at the beginning of National Police Week. Each year, the nation sets aside this time to show special appreciation for law enforcement personnel at all levels. We pay tribute to the brave men and women devoted to keeping our communities and families safe. We also remember the sacrifice of the heroes who have given all in the line of duty. These heroes and their families are never forgotten.

It’s in their honor—and for all who uphold the badge—that the Rules Committee will be considering three items to support law enforcement.

The first I’ll discuss, H.R. 2494, is the POLICE Act of 2023.  The POLICE Act makes assaulting a law enforcement officer a deportable offense.

Unfortunately, assaults on law enforcement officers are on the rise. According to the FBI, assaults on law enforcement officers increased 11.2% from 2020 to 2021. Several of these violent incidents have been perpetrated by illegal aliens drawn to the U.S. by President Biden’s open-border policies. Yet, under current immigration law, assault of a police officer is not explicitly stated as a deportable offense.

Those who serve as our front line of defense against crime should be equally protected. The POLICE Act ensures our immigration laws reflect that point.

The second item I’ll discuss is H.R. 3091, the Federal Law Enforcement Officer Service Weapon Purchase Act. Unlike many states and municipalities, Federal law currently does not allow Federal law enforcement officers to purchase their service weapon when that weapon is being retired. Instead, it is mandated to be destroyed.

H.R. 3091 ensures that Federal law enforcement officers in good standing are given the opportunity to purchase their service weapon when it is being retired, providing Federal law enforcement officers the same opportunity that many of their fellow officers at the state and local level receive. It also saves Americans money, ensuring that we need not waste taxpayer dollars destroying service weapons and can instead recoup some of the cost of the original purchase.

Finally, our third item is H. Con. Res. 40. This is a resolution expressing Congressional support for law enforcement officers while also opposing efforts to defund, disband, dismantle, or abolish the police.

The United States has, unfortunately, witnessed a wave of progressive activists pushing a “Defund the Police” mantra in recent years. This movement ushered in a predictable result: spikes in crime across the country, but particularly concentrated in major cities that chose to defund the police or to embrace other anti-police policies.

In passing H. Con. Res. 40, the House of Representatives will be making clear where we stand. We stand with law enforcement officers and oppose efforts to defund the police. We celebrate those who have chosen to dedicate their lives and careers to the protection of their fellow citizens. Above all, we honor the memory of officers who have fallen in the line of duty.


May 15, 2023