July 29, 2020 1:23PM

House Democrats Drop DHS Funding From Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Late yesterday afternoon, the House Rules Committee published the rule for debate on the omnibus spending bill (HR 7617) to be considered this week. Significantly, and almost certainly in direct response to events in Portland and elsewhere, the rule strikes Division E (the DHS funding section) from the bill. My Cato colleague (and fellow House staff veteran) Jeff Vanderslice noted that it was the Manager’s amendment offered by outgoing House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) that was the vehicle for the change.

In my own review of the 340 amendments to the bill, I noticed that Amendment #106 to Division B (Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies), offered by Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Alexandria Ocasio‐​Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Debra Haaland (D-NM) would ban the use of funds for the Department of Justice’s Operations Legend and Relentless Pursuit–two alleged crime‐​fighting initiatives that some believe are simply political stunts and potential cover for anti‐​protester operations.

It’s unlikely House Democrats will elect to not pass any DHS appropriations bill this year, even though such a move is long overdue–as events in Portland and elsewhere have underscored. But putting further DHS money on ice can at least create leverage for potential major legislative changes…assuming the House Democratic leadership is actually serious about stopping constitutional rights violations by DHS personnel.