Cassidy leads GOP Senate resolution to combat the violent crime spike
Senators note 30% spike in murders and surge of illegal immigrants, 'progressive' prosecutors
By Marisa Schultz
EXCLUSIVE: Decrying the nation's crime spike, surge in illegal immigrants and lax criminal justice policies, Republican senators are calling on the Biden administration to work with them on developing a strategy to "combat the violent crime epidemic within the country."
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., is expected to introduce a resolution Monday with his Republican colleagues that outlines the wave of crime in America and links the uptick to an open southern border, progressive prosecutors declining to charge violent offenders, and certain bail reform policies that let "dangerous criminals" back on the streets.
"Rising violent crime destroys families and should be combated by criminal justice systems that prosecute the offenders as offenders, and not as victims," the resolution, first obtained by Fox News Digital, reads.
Murders across the nation spiked by nearly 30% in 2020 compared to the year prior, according to FBI data released in September, marking the largest single-year increase in killings since the agency began tracking the crimes. Among Black Americans, the number of deaths spiked by more than 32% compared to 2019.
In all, more than 21,000 homicides were reported in 2020, 4,901 more than in 2019, the biggest leap since the 1960s. Overall violent crime – which includes homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – increased by 5.6 % and property crimes dropped by nearly 8%, according to FBI data.
"If there was ever a time that the American people want to know that the president and Congress are working together to defeat the scourge of crime, the time is now," Cassidy said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "This resolution is to send the message that combating crime is what we are focused on."
Cassidy's resolution comes in time for National Police Week this May. The GOP senators want to signal Republicans are serious about addressing rising crime and the border crisis.
The resolution also draws attention to the 59% increase in murders of police officers in 2021, as noted by FBI Director Christopher Wray.
"Violence against law enforcement in this country is one of the biggest phenomena that I think doesn't get enough attention," Wray told CBS News' "60 Minutes" in April, adding that officers are being murdered at a rate of nearly "one every five days."
The White House Friday marked Peace Officers Memorial Day and national Police Week by issuing a proclamation honoring the sacrifices of police officers, touting efforts to crack down on "ghost" guns and encouraging more communities to tap federal resources for policing through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Democrats passed last year.
"The solution is not to defund our police," the White House proclamation said.
The White House said more than $10 billion has already been spent or committed for public safety through the American Rescue Plan by more than 300 communities and more than half of the states.
"We’ve inherited from the previous administration the largest year-over-year jump in murders in record history in 2020," outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday of the Trump administration. "Our focus from here has been putting more cops on the beat."
The FBI director said the coronavirus pandemic contributed to the crime spike.
"We're seeing more and more juveniles committing violent crime, and that's certainly an issue," Wray said. "We're seeing a certain amount of gun trafficking, interstate gun trafficking. That's part of it. And we're seeing an alarming frequency of some of the worst of the worst getting back out on the streets."
Signing onto the resolution are 28 Republicans.
In addition to Cassidy, the co-sponsors are GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Mike Braun of Indiana, Ted Cruz of Texas, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Steve Daines of Montana, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rob Portman of Ohio, James Risch of Idaho, Rick Scott of Florida, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Todd Young of Indiana and Joni Ernst of Iowa.
Fox News' Emma Colton and Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.