Houlahan Helps Boost Funding for Police and Mental Health Services

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On Thursday, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) helped pass a robust public safety package in response to nationwide concerns about crime. The four bills included in the package would fund the police, improve mental health services, reduce the cycle of violence, and help police forces solve violent crimes. Specifically, the Houlahan-backed Invest to Protect Act was passed 360-64 with every Democrat and Republican from Pennsylvania voting in favor. Its passage comes after months of public calls by Houlahan to make bipartisan progress on the issue of public safety.

“There is nothing more bipartisan than keeping our communities and country safe,” said Houlahan. “Of the four bills included, I was specifically excited to see the Invest to Protect Act pass. When I brought up the legislation to a police department in our community earlier this year, the reaction was incredibly enthusiastic. Since then, I have worked to push this vital package forward, and now I look forward to being able to call that same police department and others to share our progress. These bills now head to the Senate where I urge my colleagues to join us in protecting our communities.”

In addition to making personal calls for bipartisan progress, Houlahan and other New Democrat Coalition leadership members endorsed the public safety package (among other individual bills); Houlahan helped lead a congressional effort asking Speaker Pelosi to bring the public safety measures to a vote before the Congress; and Houlahan joined her colleagues in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to back several public safety bills.

The robust public safety package includes four bills:

  • The Invest to Protect Act – funds the police with grants to help small, local law enforcement agencies retain and recruit officers. At the same time, this bill invests in strong guardrails and accountability measures, including training for de-escalation, responding to substance use disorders, supporting survivors of domestic violence, and promoting a duty of care.
  • The Mental Health Justice Act – helps send unarmed mental health professionals to respond to mental health crises in our neighborhoods: crucial action to save lives from potentially fatal encounters with armed police officers.
  • The Break the Cycle of Violence Act – invests in effective, evidence-based community violence intervention initiatives. This builds on the life-saving progress forged with similar investments in the American Rescue Plan.
  • The VICTIM Act – bolsters the ability of police forces to solve homicides, sexual assaults, shootings, and other violent crimes: a necessary step to ensure justice is served and improve trust in law enforcement.
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In June, Houlahan wrote a local op-ed urging community members to reach out to their Senators to support the Invest to Protect Act, one of the bills passed today that will help smaller police departments—like those in Chester and Berks Counties—better compete for resources.

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