Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus aims to support police


(NewsNation) — The Problem Solvers Caucus is a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives made up of both Republicans and Democrats. The caucus attempts to find common ground on key policy issues.

Most recently, their focus was on a pair of bills aimed at increasing funds to police departments: the Invest to Protect Act and the COPS on the beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act.

The COPS on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity act would continue the program for the next 10 years, double funding for it, and expand eligibility for rural communities to receive grants, according to The Hill. It would also boost law enforcement officers’ wages if they meet specific qualifications.

The Invest to Protect Act would provide $50 million over the next five years to help local law enforcement agencies with fewer than 200 officers,

Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-California) said there has been continued support for investing in police departments throughout the country.

“It has never gone away, and it’s something that I think our constituents want to make sure continues,” Carbajal said. “I think what they want us to do is also invest in other items that haven’t been funded that we have, unfortunately, put on the backs of police officers. We have been asking our police officers to do more than just law enforcement — to provide mental health, social work, do so much more.”

Lawmakers need to give police support to “amplify the broad mission” that they are now tasked with, Carbajal said.

News reports of police brutality and high-profile police killings of Black Americans have caused some people to turn a more critical eye to law enforcement.

The movement asked for funds to be reallocated from police departments and into other government agencies, according to The Hill. Proponents said the change would more effectively deter crime and protect minority communities. The term gained popularity with progressives on the left.

But Rep. Don Bacon, (R-Nebraska) said the idea of defunding the police is too extreme, even for moderate Democrats, and not something the Problem Solvers want.

“We’ve had a lot more support for the police,” he said.

The Problem Solvers Caucus is also turning its attention to other issues, such as supply chain shortages and inflation stemming from the war in Ukraine and COVID. One NewsNation viewer wanted to know more about how to fix the supply chain, and was able to ask Bacon and Carbajal about it on “Morning in America.”

Q: Considering all the conflict going on internationally, how can we in the United States address the supply chain issues and increase manufacturing in our own nation?

Carbajal said it’s important to approach inflation, which is seeing record-high rates, from multiple angles.

“In the Problem Solvers, we have worked to move forward legislation that actually gets to the core of this,” he said.

One of these is legislation aimed at decreasing the U.S.’ reliance on foreign microchips because of the shortage of them. The COMPETE Act would provide more funding to support U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and development and supply chain security.

Another bill, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, would bring order to some trade practices, Carbajal said. The act is designed to update federal regulations on maritime shipping companies.

Bacon said of primary importance is increasing the country’s workforce.

“Inflation was caused by too much spending a year ago,” he said. “And if we can control our spending, our inflation will largely start going down, but we have to show some fiscal restraint.”

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