Feb 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi: "Defund the police" not the policy of the Democratic Party

"Defund the Police" is “not the position of the Democratic Party," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told ABC's "This Week" Sunday in response to Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who said she will persist using the slogan despite her colleagues' disapproval.

Why it matters: The position has driven a wedge between progressive and moderate Democrats, with those who support it largely taking the blame for Democratic losses in 2020 House elections.

  • Bush told Black reporters during an hourlong conversation this week that she's sticking to her activist roots, and that her party needs to do better at explaining that it means shifting some police funding toward preemptive social services.

What she's saying: “Community safety, to protect and defend in every way, is our oath of office," Pelosi told George Stephanopoulos. "And I have sympathy — we're all concerned about mistreatment of people .... but make no mistake, community safety is our responsibility."

The bottom line: Pelosi declared that the slogan is "dead — that causes a concern with a few in our caucus, but public safety is our responsibility."

  • She pointed to the Democrats' proposed reform, the Justice in Policing Act, which would overhaul qualified immunity for police officers, ban chokeholds federally, prohibit no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaw racial profiling.
  • It would also establish a national registry of police misconduct to be managed by the Department of Justice.

Go deeper: Rep. Cori Bush isn't backing down on "defund the police"

Go deeper