Jul 11, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House GOP unveils law enforcement targets in budget fight

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Tuesday laid out his detailed roadmap for using the federal budget to target federal law enforcement policies reviled by conservatives.

Why it matters: It's the manifestation of seven months of GOP-led investigations into the "weaponization" of the federal government.

Driving the news: In a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger (R-Texas), Jordan said his probes have "generated a number of potential reforms that the House ... can advance through its 'power of the purse.'"

  • "We appreciate your willingness to work with us to identify ways to ... constrain out-of-control federal agencies, hold the Biden Administration accountable, and most importantly protect the fundamental civil liberties of the American people," Jordan wrote.
  • Jordan told Axios the two committee have been having staff-level discussions and that he’s gotten “really positive feedback” from the Appropriations Committee towards his proposals.
  • “We feel like the vast majority of those [riders] are probably going to be in the bill,” Jordan said. “We feel really good about that.”

The details: Jordan laid out a laundry list of restrictions on federal funds that would:

  • Require career DOJ officials, rather than political appointees, to handle "politically sensitive" investigations.
  • Block the FBI from building a new headquarters in Virginia or Maryland.
  • Stop agencies from labeling communications as misinformation or disinformation, supporting organizations that do so or reestablishing DHS's suspended Disinformation Governance Board.
  • Block the implementation or defense of a Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearm rule classifying handguns with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles.
  • Forbid enforcement of Attorney General Merrick Garland's 2021 memorandum on responding to threats against school boards.
  • Prevent the State Department from operating the Global Engagement Center, an initiative to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.
  • Ban the use of funds to oppose Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposed judicial overhaul.
  • Ban the facilitation of abortions or gender affirming care for migrants in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.
  • Require DHS and other agencies that deal with immigration to enforce stricter border policies across the board.

Reality check: Many of these proposals will be non-starters with Senate Democrats and President Biden.

  • House Republicans are aiming to give themselves a tough starting position going into inevitable negotiations with the Senate to draft a compromise bill.

What we're watching: Jordan said his 9-page dossier is only an "initial list," writing, "These proposals are just a beginning."

  • "As the 118th Congress progresses, the Committee and Select Subcommittee will continue to conduct oversight to inform legislative proposals that will uphold fundamental freedoms and secure American liberties."
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