Press Release

House Passes Public Safety Legislation Following Cuellar Letter

Cuellar letter with colleagues urged congressional leadership to enact policies that address solutions to crime in communities across the country

Washington | Dana Youngentob, DC Press Secretary (202-340-9148), September 22, 2022

Washington, DC—Today, the House passed a sweeping package of bills to bolster public safety and support local police departments. Earlier this week, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) led a push to bring these bills up for a vote. Joined by 11 other Members of Congress, Congressman Cuellar wrote to House leadership urging them to bring the package to the Floor without delay.

“Crime affects every community—from our nation’s most rural towns to its biggest cities. Its victims are Americans of every demographic. We represent drastically different districts from across the country, but all of us regularly hear from constituents who voice concerns about rising crime rates… We feel strongly that Congress must address the issue immediately,” the Members wrote in their letter.

The members continued, “While no single policy can bring down violent crime on its own—just as no single factor is causing crime rates to rise—there are numerous existing bipartisan legislative proposals that we believe are worthy of consideration in the House. The bills before us support public safety in a balanced, comprehensive way… Taken together, these bills represent an important first step in bolstering public safety and reversing profoundly concerning increases in rates of violent crime. They also send a clear message that Congress is committed to partnering with state and local governments to make all of our communities safer.”

Joining Congressman Cuellar on this letter were Representatives Sanford Bishop Jr (GA-2), Cindy Axne (IA-3), Angie Craig (MN-2), Jim Costa (CA-16), Mike Thompson (CA-5), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Susie Lee (NV-3), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-1), Susan Wild (PA-7), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), David Trone (MD-6), and Jared Golden (ME-2).

To view a copy of the letter, click here.

The package passed by the House today includes four bills:

  1. The Invest to Protect Act invests $300 million over the next five years to support police departments agencies across the country. This funding will help invest in training, equipment, recruitment, and retention.
  2. The VICTIM Act establishes a new grant program to hire, train, and retain detectives to investigate shootings and support victims.
  3. The Break the Cycle of Violence Act provides federal grants for community violence intervention and prevention programs.
  4. The Mental Health Justice Act creates a new grant program to pay for hiring and training mental health provider first responder units.