Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass, D-Calif., seemed to compound the confusion surrounding the movement to “defund the police” Wednesday when she indicated that the term didn’t apply to reducing police budgets.
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on police reform, Bass singled out Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who said in his opening statement that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti had said he wanted to “defund the police.”
“It was said in the opening statement that the mayor of Los Angeles defunded the police department,” Bass said. “I just want to make a note that he absolutely did not defund the police department. He did reduce the budget and he shifted the funds to deal with some of the real issues that police officers always complain about.”
Many on the left have advanced the slogan “defund the police” as a solution for combatting issues of racism in police departments, but have not offered a single explanation about what the term means.
Bass previously said she wasn’t aware of the term and would consult with Black Lives Matter activists about it. Regardless, Wednesday’s statement appeared to contradict several high profile figures who indicated that “defunding” meant transferring funds as Garcetti had.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., told ABC News on Wednesday that many in the movement sought the same type of “budget priorities” she said existed in affluent suburbs.
“It may sound strange but many affluent suburbs have essentially already begun pursuing a defunding of the police in that they fund schools, they fund housing, and they fund health care more as their number one priorities.”
On Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez warned that people were trying to “repackage” the phrase to make it more palatable.
” … [T]he fact that ppl are scrambling to repackage this whole conversation to make it palatable for largely affluent, white suburban ‘swing’ voters again points to how much more electoral & structural power these communities have relative to others,” she tweeted.
Garcetti and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have already committed to transfer funding from law enforcement to community services. Garcetti specifically vowed to cut as much as $150 million that was part of a planned increase in the police department’s budget.
Bass’ office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.