Hawley amendment to hire 100,000 police officers earns wide Senate support in late-night vote
An amendment by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley to hire 100,000 law enforcement officers around the country received almost unanimous support in the U.S. Senate early Wednesday morning.
The junior Missouri senator's measure, which would send grants to local communities to hire more officers, passed the Senate by a 95-3 vote after midnight.
The amendment is attached to a nonbinding budget resolution — meaning it will not have any immediate legislative impact. But its bipartisan support signals potential willingness on both sides of the aisle to expand funding for law enforcement as the chamber prepares to debate what's included in trillions of dollars in federal spending.
Hawley used the vote to promote the standalone Senate bill serving the same function, inviting Democrats to co-sponsor the legislation in a letter early Wednesday morning.
"I am thrilled there is near-unanimous support for increased funding for police and for putting more cops on the beat," Hawley wrote.
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The three "no" votes came from Sens. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont; Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania; and Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah.
In the weeks and months following the police murder of George Floyd and racial justice protests around the country, calls to reduce funding for law enforcement or "defund the police" came most often from progressive Democrats.
Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois and the Senate majority whip, said the amendment had the support of his party — a position that Hawley characterized as distancing themselves from their "defund police, pro-crime policies." Durbin thanked Hawley for supporting the program, originally created by President Joe Biden when he served in the Senate.
The late-night vote was part of what is commonly referred to as a "vote-a-rama," in which senators propose a series of amendments to force controversial votes and drum up political controversy.
It was the final step for the Senate before it approved the $3.5 trillion budget plan Wednesday — supported entirely by Democrats and expected to be a massive investment in social services and programs, among a number of other areas. It is expected to face a long and complex process in both congressional chambers before passage.
The Senate also passed a trillion-dollar infrastructure package this week, supported by Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt but opposed by Hawley.