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In House Spending Bill, DeLauro, Escobar Secure Protections Against Infringement upon First Amendment Rights

July 31, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House of Representatives passed two amendments offered by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, and Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), member of the House Armed Services Committee, to H.R. 7617, the second minibus of the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, to protect American’s First Amendment rights. These amendments bar the Armed Forces or federal law enforcement from using any federal funds to infringe upon the People’s freedom of speech or right to assemble, a tactic encouraged by the current administration in Portland, Oregon, and many other major cities across the country.

“Our nation is built upon the fundamental protections of speech, discourse, and assembly,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Our democracy, and some of our nation’s greatest leaders and ideas, were born of civil unrest and the individual’s power to speak out. Among many other horrifying offenses, reports of federal agents in unmarked vehicles picking up and detaining protesters in Portland, Oregon, demand action by Congress to protect our most fundamental rights. I’m honored to join my colleague, Congresswoman Escobar, in standing up for the American People and ensuring that no tax dollars are spent in direct conflict with our Constitution.”

“As a free and democratic nation, our Constitution safeguards cherished values that should never be questioned or threatened with force including the protection of freedom of speech,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “The Trump Administration’s tactics displayed in Portland, and the threats to use military force against peaceful protestors demanding racial justice are a shameless attack against our First Amendment rights and I’m proud that Congress took action to defend this bedrock principle.”

The amendment was co-sponsored by Representatives Brad Sherman (CA-30), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Bill Keating (MA-09), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), David Cicilline (RI-01), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Susan Davis (CA-53), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Joe Kennedy III (MA-04), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Mark Takano (CA-41), Dan Kildee (MI-05), and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).

View the full text of the amendments as adopted here and here.