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Republican lawmaker suggests withholding federal dollars for cities that defund police departments
By JAMES SWIFT
United States Senator Kelly Loeffler railed against the Black Lives Matter movement at a campaign stop in Bartow County Friday morning, describing it as a political organization “promoting Marxist ideals” that wants to abolish the police and military and “empty our prisons.”Loeffler, a Republican who was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp following Johnny Isakson’s resignation last year, gave her scathing speech at LakePoint Station in Emerson.“They’re against the nuclear family, they’re anti-Semitic and they promote violence — this is not a movement that helps bring us together, it doesn’t lift anyone up,” she said. She accused Black Lives Matter contributions of going through the online fundraising platform ActBlue, claiming such is “the No. 1 way that Democrats are raising money, and part of their mission is to get President Trump out of the White House.”Loeffler, co-owner of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Atlanta Dream franchise, drew criticism earlier this month after penning an open letter urging WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert to forbid players from wearing pre-game apparel baring the “Black Lives Matter” phrase.“Now the radical left wants to take away my business,” she said. “Every single American should have the right — it doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on — to speak your piece and not lose your job, not lose your company, not lose your place in the educational system.”Loeffler said she believes “every single African-American life matters” and that “we need to root out racism,” but claimed the Black Lives Matter organization “isn’t about that.”Rather, she said the organization wants to “erode the freedoms [and] the equalities” that are a part of the “American way of life.”Loeffler also said she intends to pursue legislation that would cut federal dollars for municipalities that defund police departments.“I will always stand strong to back the blue, I have their backs,” she said. “We have to stop this very dangerous ‘defund the police’ movement, it’s absolutely wrong, it’s creating havoc across our cities.”Loeffler later told The Daily Tribune News that the proposed funding cuts would only apply to municipalities that reduce police expenditures “without budgetary reason.”She said the revocation of federal funding would come in the form of reduced Federal Highway Administration safety allocations. “It would be a percentage of those funds, not the entirety of those funds,” she said. “Obviously, it’s important to have safety funding still going through.”Loeffler said she believes the impact of police defunding is already apparent. “We can all see firsthand on television what it’s doing in places like Portland and what happened in Atlanta and these autonomous zones,” she said. “An 8-year-old girl is murdered in the streets in the autonomous zone, so where’s the outrage on that?”Continuing, Loeffler said she believes the nation is “under attack” from radical leftist forces. “We didn’t know how swiftly and violently they would move to replace American ideals with socialist ideas, and we’re seeing it happen right now,” she said. “I’m in the Senate with Chuck Schumer, I see what Nancy Pelosi’s doing, I see AOC, these are real, this is what’s happening in our nation’s capital, trying to push this on us as Americans, as a free country.”When it comes to the federal response to COVID-19, Loeffler said about $1 trillion remains in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act coffers. “I’d like to make sure that we’re deploying that to the areas that need it most,” she said. “Potentially, looking at the additional dollars left in [the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP], for example, making sure that the gaps that we might have not been able to fill in small businesses — particularly, in rural or minority-owned businesses — how do we make sure that that funding gets out?”As for changes to health care, Loeffler said now is “the opportunity to make sure that we’re prepared, should there be a second wave.” However, she did not mention any particular programs, initiatives or federal policies — nor any direct actions she wants to see taken to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.“We’ve got to make sure that we spend the money prudently and to make sure that it has its intended effect, to shore up the economy and to stimulate that demand that we’re seeing,” she said. “We’re seeing jobs come back, but there’s a lot more to do, there’s 20 million people out of work.”She said she does support another stimulus package to counter the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis. “If there are areas that can’t be filled by the CARES Act, then we should look at this,” she said. “There are some industries that have been badly impacted — hospitality and travel, for example — how do we make sure that we have the services of those businesses that we still rely on?”However, Loeffler said she believes it would be “premature” to discuss the projected monetary amount of another round of federal payouts.“We’ve already spent upward of $3 trillion and that’s the big question,” she said. “What additional funds need to be paid out to support the economy as we get through this?”China also drew Loeffler’s ire. She said the nation allowed the coronavirus to spread around the world, in the process, making the World Health Organization (WHO) “complicit” in its escalation. She also voiced intentions to introduce a piece of federal legislation, which she deemed “The Beat China Act.” The proposed legislation would offer incentives to companies that relocate manufacturing facilities to the United States. “It will also create jobs, and again, everything that we can do to create jobs, to create that ladder of opportunity for every single American, that lifts every American up,” she said. “Those incentives would be, you know, maybe year one expensing of all investments here in this country … there’s other hiring incentives that we can put out to make sure that it’s coupled with job creation.”Loeffler’s roughly 15-minute speech — held on the grounds of a miniature golf course — also included calls for new legislation concerning firearms. “Recently, I introduced a piece of legislation called the GOP Act — it stands for ‘Gun Owners Protection Act,’ and it makes sure when you get that background check that your data doesn’t go into a federal registry that they want to create to track gun owners, lawful gun owners,” she said. “I will always fight to defend our Second Amendment, I am the only person in our race that has not tried to water down or take away your Second Amendment rights.”Loeffler’s U.S. Senate seat is up for grabs this fall in a special election. The format for Nov. 3 is more or less a “jungle primary” variation, which pits the incumbent against fellow Republican Doug Collins and Democratic challengers Ed Tarver and Raphael Warnock — and more than a dozen other qualified candidates, Republican, Democrat, third-party and independent — all on the same ballot.Assuming no candidate obtains more than 50% of the total vote, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff election, which is slated for Jan. 5, 2021.Loeffler also briefly discussed her stance on abortion during the speech in Emerson.“I will always, and have always, stood to protect the sanctity of life,” she said. “We all know the left’s abortion-on-demand agenda is not just radical, but it’s wrong and it is immoral.”Loeffler closed out her address by stating the United States must “finish building the wall” along the southern border.“We’re going to be ahead of schedule by the end of the year, we have a broken immigration policy and we have to defund sanctuary cities,” she said. “They’re creating harm in our communities and we have to stand strong to fix that.”
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