The House of Representatives today passed the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 2019) Defense Appropriations bill by a vote of 359-49. The bill funds the Department of Defense – including operations, readiness activities, equipment modernization, and health and quality-of-life programs for our troops and military families. It also provides funds for several of Congressman Rutherford’s initiatives that are of particular interest to Northeast Florida. [Read more…] about Rutherford Statement on House Passage of FY 2019 Defense Appropriations Bill
Rep. John Rutherford
Other Change Includes Rep. John Rutherford to Move to
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee
House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen today announced that Rep. Jeff Fortenberry will become the new Chairman of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee. The post became available following the retirement of Rep. Charlie Dent.
“Representative Fortenberry is a valued member of the Appropriations Committee and has worked diligently over the years to make certain that each and every tax dollar under our care is used responsibly. His leadership and insight in his new role as Subcommittee Chairman will be essential to craft legislation that funds the Legislative Branch of our government, ensuring the proper functioning of our democratic process and the safety of those that work in and visit the Capitol complex every day,” Chairman Frelinghuysen said.
Lawmakers approve bipartisan bill to enhance
federal penalties for targeting law enforcement
H.R. 5698, the Protect and Serve Act of 2018, today passed the House by a vote of 382-35. This bipartisan bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, would create federal penalties for individuals who deliberately target local, state, or federal law enforcement officers with violence.
Upon the House’s passage of this legislation, Congressman Rutherford released the following statement:
“As a career law enforcement officer and former sheriff of Jacksonville, I know what officers go through every day when they put on their uniform and head out to keep our communities safe,” said Rutherford. “This is why I am proud that the Protect and Serve Act was passed by the House today with overwhelming bipartisan support.
“Sadly, we have seen a recent increase in violence against officers, especially in ambush style attacks. This bill creates steep consequences for anyone who targets officers and intentionally tries to do them harm. During National Police Week, as we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, the Protect and Serve Act of 2018 shows law enforcement officers across the country that we in Congress support them in the important and dangerous work that they do each day.”
This year alone, 87 officers have been shot in the line of duty, 28 of whom lost their lives. This is 75 percent higher than this time last year. These numbers show a significant, growing trend of armed attacks on law enforcement officers, and todays passage of H.R. 5698 is the first step in preventing more of these tragedies.
The Protect and Serve Act was endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, Major County Sheriffs, Sergeants Benevolent Association, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. Congressman Rutherford’s floor remarks on the bill can be found here.
“Thank you Chairman Goodlatte and thank you Representative Nadler for your support of this legislation.
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 5698, the Protect and Serve Act of 2018. This important bill will enhance penalties for anyone who intentionally causes harm to law enforcement officers.
“Mr. Chairman, I can tell you after dedicating more than 40 years of my life to law enforcement, I know what officers go through every day when they put that uniform on, say goodbye to their families, and walk out the door to protect our communities.
“Sadly, we have seen a recent increase in violence against officers, especially in ambush style attacks. In fact, just last month in Florida, Sgt. Noel Ramirez and Deputy Taylor Lindsey were eating lunch, and were specifically targeted and assassinated, simply because they were police officers and wore that blue uniform.
“And they are not alone. So far this year, 87 law enforcement officers have been shot in the line of duty – 28 of whom ultimately lost their lives. Mr. Speaker, this is 75% higher than this time last year.
“For this reason, I introduced bipartisan legislation with my good friend and former Orlando Police Chief, Representative Val Demings, that will ensure that there are the strongest possible penalties for anyone who decides to target and harm not only federal law enforcement officers, but also local and state officers.
“We worked on this bill closely with the Fraternal Order of Police and are proud to have earned the support of the National Association of Police Organizations, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, and the Major County Sheriffs of America, which represent thousands of officers from around the country.
“This week, we remember the officers who have given their lives protecting our communities, and we as members of congress must show the law enforcement community across this country that we support them and the important work that they do, day in and day out. We must also show that those who wish target police officers with violence, that attacks will not be tolerated. I urge all Members to join me today in supporting this legislation.
“And before I yield back Mr. Speaker, I should mention and I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t, that just yesterday morning, in Jacksonville, Florida, as mentioned earlier by my good friend from Washington, Sheriff Reichert, who held a moment of silence for those officers who gave their lives in service to this community.
“And yesterday morning at about 4:00 in the morning, during a horrible storm in Jacksonville, Officer LW gave his life on Police Memorial Day, in service to this community. I have to say, Police Week, and Law Enforcement Memorial Day always remind me of the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said:
‘The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.’
“I offer this bill in memory of Officer Lance Whitaker, who died yesterday morning, living well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield back the remainder of my time.”