Hours into the Senate’s marathon overnight vote-a-rama, Sen. Tommy Tuberville wanted to send a message.
The Alabama Republican sought to put Senate Democrats on the record on “defunding the police” with a budget amendment that would block federal funds from any municipalities that defunded their police departments. This was an amendment to the $3.5 trillion budget bill, forcing Democrats to vote for or against it. (And it’s the type of stuff attack ads are made of.)
“The woke rhetoric of ‘defund the police’ is dangerous – it puts our law enforcement at risk, and it puts the safety and security of Americans at risk. This must end,” Tuberville said in a statement ahead of the vote.
Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, responded with a sarcastic speech from the Senate floor, as chronicled by CNN’s Ali Zaslav just after 1 a.m. ET:
Booker responded with a loud, animated, sarcastic speech on the Senate floor calling Tuberville’s amendment a “gift” for Democrats to “finally once and for all” put to rest “the lies” that they want to defund the police.
“I am so excited. This is perhaps the highlight of this long and painful and torturous night,” the New Jersey Democrat shouted. “This is a gift… because there’s some people who have said that there are members of this deliberative body that want to defund the police, to my horror.”
He then called on his colleagues to “sashay down there” and vote for the amendment.
All present senators voted for it 99-0. (One senator, Republican Mike Rounds of South Dakota, abstained from the evening’s votes because his wife is in cancer treatment.)
For what it’s worth, Tuberville’s measure is non-binding and does not get signed into law. But it does allow these 50 Democrats to respond to Republican efforts to paint them as supportive of defunding the police – with a tangible vote saying that they do not.