Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are pushing back against a Pentagon program that provides military equipment to local law enforcement departments, in the wake of nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd, according to a report.
The bipartisan group of lawmakers are seeking a review of a Defense Department initiative that transfers hardware like bayonets and grenade launchers to police departments, the New York Times reported on Monday.
The effort comes as images of the Floyd protests show law enforcement officials responding with riot gear and military vehicles.
Former President Barack Obama placed limits on the Pentagon program but President Trump rolled those back in 2017.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said he would include an amendment to shut down the Pentagon program in a must-pass defense policy bill.
“It is clear that many police departments are being outfitted as if they are going to war, and it is not working in terms of maintaining the peace,” Schatz told the Times. “This is not the only thing we need to do, but as our country sees these images on television that remind us of some countries far, far away, it’s time to recalibrate this program. Just because the Department of Defense has excess weaponry doesn’t mean it will be put to good use.”
The chief strategist for Sen. Rand Paul said the Kentucky Republican would support the effort.
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