What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Hate Crimes : HR 1105. (Fiscal 2009 spending) Coburn of Oklahoma amendment that would shift money from state and local grants to prosecute unsolved civil rights crimes to a program coordinating existing anti-crime efforts in high-crime neighborhoods/On agreeing to the amendment
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HR 1105. (Fiscal 2009 spending) Coburn of Oklahoma amendment that would shift money from state and local grants to prosecute unsolved civil rights crimes to a program coordinating existing anti-crime efforts in high-crime neighborhoods/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 78     Mar 04, 2009
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N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on an amendment by Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would divert $10 million for grants to help state and local law enforcement prosecute unsolved civil rights crimes. It would instead have funneled the money to a Justice Department program that coordinates existing efforts to combat crime in high-crime neighborhoods.  The amendment was offered to the bill that funds most domestic agencies in fiscal 2009.

Coburn said the money would be put to better use to solve crimes before they become cold cases, rather than pumping money into cold case investigations work after the fact.

"We ought to put the money in this on a timely basis to make sure we solve these crimes. The witnesses are dying and the information is going away. Justice denied comes about because we are delaying justice," Coburn said.  Coburn also took Democrats to task, saying they are being hypocritical for passing a program authorization to help solve unsolved civil rights cases but then not authorizing funding for it.

Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said Coburn's amendment would slow down the process of getting the Justice Department adequate funding for initiatives Congress has passed. 

"This authorized program has nothing to do with resolving unsolved civil rights cases. Yet this amendment takes almost half the funding in one authorized program designed to combat violent crime and gang activities and earmarks it for a different program that already has millions in funding available for this effort," Inouye said.  "The best way to fund initiatives of the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act is to pass this measure—the underlying measure—now and send it to the President for his signature. The amendment of the Senator from Oklahoma detracts from that effort, while providing no overall benefit."

By a vote of 37-58, the amendment was rejected. All but three Republicans present voted for the amendment.  All but one Democrat present voted against the amendment.  The end result is that the measure went forward with funding for unsolved civil rights cases intact.

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