Tags: Ferguson shooting | Ferguson riots | Michael Brown | Congress and Ferguson

As Congress Returns, Ferguson Unrest High on Agenda

Image: As Congress Returns, Ferguson Unrest High on Agenda
Police monitor protesters in Ferguson, Missouri on Aug. 15. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 08 Sep 2014 07:18 AM

Lawmakers are expected to give top priority to the events surrounding Ferguson when they return to Capitol Hill from vacation this week, The Hill reported.

The Aug. 9 shooting of an African-American youth by a white police officer and the ensuing unrest in the Missouri town will see mostly Democrats looking at the militarization of law enforcement and the Congressional Black Caucus examining discrimination and profiling, according to the Hill.

Democrats in the House and Senate would like to move speedily to determine in what way the Pentagon's 1033 program — which enables local police to obtain surplus military equipment — needs to be modified. Republicans, notably House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, want to wait for federal investigations into the incident to be completed while weighing their own legislative approach.

Partisan differences will make it unlikely that Ferguson will lead to actual passage of legislation during the relatively short September legislative calendar, the Hill reported.

The black caucus wants to spotlight violence by police, racial profiling, and related social-justice issues as well as police militarization. Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson plans next week to propose bipartisan legislation to roll back the 1033 program.

The caucus will also use Ferguson to push for revamping the criminal justice system, stricter gun control, and social programs to help at-risk young people avoid running afoul of the law, according to the Hill.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who heads a Homeland Security sub-Committee, will hold a hearing Tuesday on the military surplus program.

"This kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution. Today is going to be a new start. We can and need to do better," the Hill reported.

Other senators, including Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, and Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, are also expected to critically address the military surplus program.


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Lawmakers are expected to give top priority to the events surrounding Ferguson when they return to Capitol Hill from vacation this week.
Ferguson shooting, Ferguson riots, Michael Brown, Congress and Ferguson
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2014-18-08
Monday, 08 Sep 2014 07:18 AM
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