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House Republicans propose crackdown on cities with cashless bail, soft-on-crime policies

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Republicans are hammering home their law-and-order agenda with new legislation that would direct state and local governments to crack down on rising crime.

Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee, on Tuesday unveiled the bill that would seek to enhance public safety measures across the country. 

“Cities across the nation are now plagued by violent crime because far-left officials refuse to uphold the rule of law,” Mr. Banks said in a statement. “Every American deserves to live in a community where they feel safe and our legislation will ensure the federal government is not subsidizing and enabling the Democrats’ radical, lawless agenda.”

Sen. Roger Marshall, Kansas Republican, will offer a companion bill in the Senate.

The bill includes several get-tough measures including:

• Prohibit the Justice Department from giving funding grants to jurisdictions that end cash bail or allow pre-trial release for dangerous criminals;

• Requiring local governments to fully report crime data to the FBI’s crime database;

• Mandate that local governments track policies that result in “nonenforcement” or “nonprosecution” of crime, including sentencing data, crime statistics for suspects given pre-trial release, and efforts to combat violent crime.

Amid a national crime wave, law-and-order issues have emerged as a top concern for voters in the midterm elections. It is an issue where voters favor Republicans, giving them an edge in their quest to retake the House majority.

Mr. Bank’s legislation is also part of a broader crime agenda from the RSC that includes tackling anti-police education in schools, tightening federal prosecution, codifying qualified immunity for officers and securing the border among others.

Democrats have been on defense about being soft on crime and continue to distance themselves from the defund-the-police rhetoric of the 2020 election cycle.

Sen. Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire Democrat, touted her endorsement from the state’s police association, vowing to stand with the law enforcement community.

“OK folks, for all of the handwringing going on about the BS we keep hearing about Dems being soft on crime just look here,” former Alabama Sen. Doug Jones tweeted about Ms. Hassan’s endorsement by the police.

Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate candidate, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, has been hobbled by criticism that he’s soft on crime. He has tried to turn the tables on his GOP opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, by accusing him of not having an agenda to handle crime.

“I’m the only candidate with a literal track record of keeping communities safe,” Mr. Fetterman said.

In a close match-up in Virginia, crime and policing have also taken center stage in the race between Democratic incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Republican Yesli Vega. Both candidates have sought to paint themselves as a friend to law enforcement.



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