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Black Lives Matter slams Senate Democrats’ support of Tuberville anti-‘defund the police’ amendment

Senate Democrats may have prematurely declared victory in their attempt to distance themselves from the controversial “defund the police” movement, as they have received immense backlash from the party’s progressive base over their move to disavow the anti-law enforcement agenda.

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) earlier this week passed an amendment to the Senate Democrat’s fiscal year 2022 budget resolution which would withhold federal funding from any local government that defunds its law enforcement department. The amendment passed 99-0, earning full Democrat support. Democrats declared victory during the process, claiming the vote proves that they have never been in support of highly unpopular efforts to “defund the police.”

Tuberville on Tuesday introduced his amendment as he took to the Senate floor to decry local governments’ “woke” attempts to “cancel their city’s police force” and called on his colleagues to support his amendment.

“The American taxpayers in Alabama have to pick up the tab for local leaders in Oregon and Minnesota who value the woke defund the police movement over their own community safety,” he said in part.

After Tuberville’s speech, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) took to the Senate floor to mock Republicans for claiming that Democrats had ever supported defunding the police.

“This is a gift,” Booker proclaimed. “If it wasn’t a complete abdication of Senate procedures and esteem I would walk over there and hug my colleague from Alabama. And I would tell you right now, thank God, because there are some people who have said that there are members of this deliberative body that want to defund the police, to my horror. And now, this senator has given us the gift that finally once and for all we can put to bed this scurrilous accusation that somebody in this great esteemed body would want to defund the police.”

Shortly thereafter, the Senate took a vote on the Tuberville amendment, which led to its unanimous passing. In that moment, Senate Democrats believed they had scored a political victory as they attempted to create distance from the most politically extreme elements of its party.

However, the vote may prove to not be as politically beneficial to Senate Democrats as they would have hoped, as Black Lives Matter (BLM) seemingly vowed to seek reprisal over their abandonment of the progressive anti-policing agenda.

BLM has become an influential force in the U.S. political arena as it has built a strong organizational and fundraising apparatus within the progressive grassroots. It has become increasingly difficult for the Democratic Party to appease both the energized base as well as the moderate wing of the party. Striking the perfect balance could prove challenging to Democrats, and Tuberville’s amendment could have made that even more arduous.

The move to support Tuberville’s amendment may have placed moderate Democrats in a political bind, as they now appear to have opened the door for potential primary opponents from progressive BLM-backed challengers.

Senate Democrats believed they had strategically gotten the best of Tuberville. It appears as if they had failed to anticipate the potential of leaving themselves vulnerable to a scorned grassroots. However, in the ever-moving political game of chess, it appears as if Alabama’s junior senator might have just claimed victory on two fronts. The first being his successful passage of a major conservative priority in supporting law enforcement and thwarting ‘defund the police’ efforts. The second is having appeared to place his Democrat colleagues in an uncomfortable political circumstance.

UPDATE 12:15 p.m.:

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Tuberville signaled that Senate Democrats may have only supported his amendment for the purpose of political expediency.

“I was glad to see Democrats jump – some, literally – at the chance to stand with law enforcement, but time will tell if they actually back the blue or if they cave to the demands of their far left base,” said Tuberville. “Some Democrats signal support for the Defund movement to parts of their base when its politically convenient, but they know it’s deeply unpopular with most Americans. When you talk one way but vote another, that’s a real problem. Who do they that think they’re fooling?”

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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