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White House Throws Cold Water On Rashida Tlaib’s Bill To Abolish Federal Prisons
Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan, questions Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, not pictured, during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is signaling that it won’t support a bill to abolish federal prisons.

During Tuesday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said “the president does not support abolishing prisons,” Axios reported.

Psaki’s remarks, referring to President Joe Biden, come after Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan, who had to point out to the congresswoman that the bill she supported would release everyone from federal prisons.

As The Daily Wire reported:

Swan pressed Tlaib on her support for a 2020 initiative aimed at reforming the criminal justice system and ultimately abolishing the federal prison system entirely.

“In 2020, you endorsed the BREATHE Act, which is a series of proposals to transform America’s criminal justice system and create, quote, ‘a roadmap for prison abolition.’ The BREATHE Act proposes emptying federal detention facilities within 10 years. To what extent have you wrestled with any potential downsides of releasing into society every single person who’s currently in a federal prison?” Swan asked.

Tlaib appeared to laugh off the question, saying, “I think everyone’s like, oh my God, we’re going to just release everybody.”

Swan immediately objected: “But that’s what — that’s what the act says.”

Tlaib pushed back, arguing that her support for the bill was based on the fact that so many who were mentally ill were being incarcerated rather than being treated.

“Yeah, but did you see how many people are mentally ill that are in prison right now?” she asked.

“But the act that you endorsed actually says release everyone,” Swan continued to press Tlaib on the issue, to which she replied that it would be 10 years before the federal prisons were actually abolished and those incarcerated would be released.

“Do you mean that you don’t actually support that? ‘Cause you used to endorse the bill,” Swan continued.

“No, I endorsed the BREATHE Act and looking at federal — the policies and how we incarcerate,” Tlaib replied.

Tlaib insisted during the interview that she just wanted to end mass incarceration and understood that not all federal inmates can be rehabilitated. Tlaib also called Democrats with whom she disagreed with – such as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) – “Corporate Dems,” claiming they were “influenced and guided by folks that don’t have the best interests of the American people in mind, so I’m fearful. I’m fearful that those groups are going to guide this agenda … It’s going to be the people that are gonna continue to profit off of human suffering.”

Psaki on Tuesday added that Biden doesn’t support defunding the police and “would not support legislation that includes,” insisting the president “thinks measures like that will make us less safe.”

In response to Tlaib’s comments, Fox News host Jesse Watters called the congresswoman a “dangerous idiot,” The Daily Wire reported.

“The congresswoman’s an idiot,” Watters said after “The Five” co-host Dana Perino aired a clip of Tlaib’s interview with Axios. “And she has power, so that makes her a very dangerous idiot.”


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