The nation’s top law enforcement official just got some good news from two Senate Republicans who think they have found a clever way to make Democrats enforce the law.
According to the Washington Examiner, a new bill put forth by a pair of GOP senators would allow Attorney General Bill Barr to deny coronavirus funding to cities and states that continue to ignore destructive rioting.
Cutting off COVID funding?
Introduced by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), the Holding Rioters Accountable Act would empower Attorney General Barr to take away some funding from state and local prosecutors who are “abusing prosecutorial discretion and failing to prosecute crimes arising from riots and other violent protests,” according to a Tuesday statement from the senators.
The bill comes after months of violent unrest, sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, that has seen anti-racism protests blend into riots, looting, and arson. Members of groups like Antifa have clashed with law enforcement and threatened property with seemingly little pushback.
But according to the Examiner, the new proposal would allow Barr to “hold up” as much as 10% of Justice Department grants through the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, as well as deny coronavirus-related emergency funding for prosecutors.
“What were once peaceful protests have turned violent — even deadly,” Sen. Cotton said in the Tuesday statement. “We should do everything in our power to stop these riots and help support local law enforcement.”
Sen. Loeffler, for her part, said that prosecutors have “turned a blind eye” to the chaos that is threatening Americans and their livelihoods. “In Portland, a local prosecutor dismissed charges on 59 individuals connected to the riots, including nine cases involving felony charges such as arson and theft,” she alleged Tuesday, according to the Examiner.
Barr against the chaos
The proposal sounds almost like a direct response to Democrat rhetoric, which has accused President Donald Trump of showing negligence by sending “storm troopers” to cities like Portland instead of resources to combat COVID-19.
Under this proposal, prosecutors would get coronavirus money, provided they acknowledge that riots are a problem and must be stopped.
As Cotton and Loeffler noted, Democrats have largely ignored the riots thus far, insisting that they are really “peaceful protests.” They grilled Barr during a committee hearing last week, where he said that Antifa is a serious threat and defended the federal government’s response in Portland, where a courthouse has been under siege.
“We feel that we have to in a place like Portland, where when we don’t have the support of the state, the local government, we have to take a stand and defend this federal property,” Barr said, according to the New York Post. “We can’t get to a level where we’re going to accept these kinds of violent attacks on federal court.”
If politically compromised prosecutors won’t do their jobs and protect Americans from Antifa violence, maybe this will convince them.