Representative Summer Lee Speaks on House Republicans’ Attempt to Block the D.C. Police Reform Bill

Apr 19, 2023
Press

Representative Summer Lee spoke on the House floor during the debate of the resolution blocking the D.C. Police Reform Bill.

(Washington, D.C.)— Today, Representative Summer Lee (PA-12) took to the House floor to share her disapproval of House Republicans’ attempt to block the D.C. Police Reform Bill. The bill that this resolution seeks to strike down mirrors the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act; banning chokeholds, removing military-grade weapons from officers, banning the hiring of officers with prior misconduct, and requiring officers to inform people of their rights. 

Lee said, “this joint resolution is telling all 670,000 tax-paying residents that their voices don’t matter. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that those residents are over 45% Black. We must affirm their right to self-determination.”

Watch Congresswoman Lee’s entire remarks HERE:


Full remarks can be found below: 

Thank you, Mr./Madame Speaker.

I rise today in solidarity with the almost 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia that this Congress seeks to disenfranchise once again.  

D.C. voters and Councilmembers saw the problem of police perpetuating different forms of violence plaguing not only their city, but the entire country and chose to act.

They saw the reports of fired officers being rehired, cases dropped for faulty evidence, and excessive use of force.

They saw that marginalized folks were bearing the brunt of the violence and were being disproportionately prosecuted.

And what are we doing here today?

Debating a resolution that seeks to circumvent the will of those D.C. voters.

Congress does not have the authority to pass a disapproval resolution such as this for any other state or municipality.

The principle of no taxation without representation helped launch the American Revolution and is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.

D.C. residents drive around with license plates trumpeting that tenet.

Yet this joint resolution is telling all 670,000 tax-paying residents that their voices don’t matter.

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that those residents are over 45% Black. 

We must affirm their right to self-determination.

D.C. residents have been petitioning for voting representation in Congress for over 200 years. And in 2016 they approved a referendum for statehood by 85%.

But instead of acting on that, this Republican-led Congress has taken every chance to strike down the will of the people.

You cannot support self-rule for jurisdictions as long as they don’t make choices you oppose.

The bill this resolution seeks to strike down mirrors the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that this Congress passed last year.

Among other things, it prohibits chokeholds, removes military-grade weapons from officers, bans the hiring of officers with prior misconduct, and requires officers to inform people of their rights.

Frankly, the bill doesn’t go far enough, leaving out crucial reforms such as ending qualified immunity.

None of these reforms are radical anti-police measures.

None of them are particularly transformative.

They are the first, small steps toward justice. 

I urge my colleagues to reject this joint resolution and allow the will of the D.C. people to stand.

I yield back.

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