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Rush Excoriates Republicans for “Vile Demagoguery,” Pushing False Narratives About Defunding Police

September 13, 2021

Nine hours into Energy and Commerce Committee markup, Rush blasts Republicans for misleading and false narratives about defunding the police; “This is insanity at its utmost”

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Energy Subcommittee, excoriated Republicans over an amendment that would eliminate communities’ access to Next Generation 9-1-1 funding if that community had voted on ordinances, budgets, legislation, or resolutions that would defund law enforcement.

Rush delivered these remarks nearly nine hours into the Energy and Commerce Committee’s markup on the Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act, during debate over the Johnson Amendment to Subtitle K, which relates to Next Generation 9-1-1 services.

“Mr. Chairman, I have heard, over the course of this debate on this amendment, some of the most vile demagoguery that I have heard in all my years serving on this Committee,” Rush said.

“I can’t ever recall a time when something that was intended for good has, in the minds and in thoughts and in the words of some of our colleagues on the other side, been turned into something that is so wrong and so senseless and so harmful.

“In the course of my life, I have had many experiences with the police department… And there is no way, Mr. Chairman, after all my vast experience with police agencies in Chicago and other places, that I ever would be a part of something that says, ‘defund the police.’

“Because I know that my constituents, the ones I represent day in and day out, they rely on the police. They want the police. They are trying to develop a better relationship with the police. But, the one thing that prevents that is these wayward outlaws who are on the police department, who want to utilize their badge to exercise their depravity as human beings. They want to be the victims; they want to victimize the victims. There is no respect — no respect.

“And so… what you all call ‘defund the police,’ all that was, was reallocation of funds to make sure that we don’t have police officers putting their lives on the line, going and trying to deal with a family argument or another thing that maybe a social worker could be better equipped to deal with. 

“So, Mr. Chairman, this is insanity at its utmost. I cannot even imagine some of the people who have are vocally supporting this amendment — you know, you are reducing yourself to becoming nothing but mere apparatuses of this line of thinking and this line of rhetoric that certainly don’t say anything, don’t take into any consideration, don’t even speak to the activities of the Capitol Hill Police who put their lives on the line to save you and I. Who can argue with them? Who can argue with police officers who are doing good across our nation.

“Even in the City of Chicago, two weeks ago, there was a funeral for a young lady who everybody in this city mourned for because she was a good police officer.  My community is not anti-police. My District is not anti-police.  

“There was a guy in Chicago named Jon Burge, the infamous Jon Burge, who was convicted in a federal court for charging innocent people and sentencing them to decades in jail.  One of the biggest items in the budget of the Chicago Police is paying for judgments in the courts,” Rush emphasized.  A 2019 analysis in the Chicago Tribune found that between 2004 and 2019, the City of Chicago spent $213 million on fees and costs for private attorneys in civil rights cases.

“Mr. Chairman, this is a rathole.  Please, lift us from out of the rathole.  I did not expect this; I do not like this; this is not something that we should be dealing with at this time,” Rush concluded.

In addition to his remarks tonight, Rush also gave opening remarks at the beginning of the markup this morning and previously responded to Republicans’ bad faith arguments about provisions in the legislation constituting government overreach and Marxism.

Video of Rep. Rush's remarks is available HERE audio is available HERE.

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