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Obama must keep his hands off western lands in his final days

First printed in the Washington Examiner.

President Theodore Roosevelt knew something about the western United States. "We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received," he once said, "and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune."
The United States' natural heritage belongs to its people. They must care for it and use it fruitfully in pursuit of a better world.
But President Obama, using the Antiquities Act, has cordoned off more than 550 million acres of land and water from productive use, declaring a total of 29 monuments during his time as president. Every acre of locked-up land and water comes at the expense of those living in the local communities, people who use the land responsibly to make a living.
The Antiquities Act was meant to protect the treasure of our natural heritage while allowing us to wisely use the resources with which God has blessed us.
Unfortunately, the president chose to charge forward with these declarations assuming Congress has no interest in the stewardship of our lands and waters.
This is simply untrue. Congress has a long history of balancing conservation with resource use and development.
Americans, especially the Coloradans who I represent in the Fourth Congressional District, recognize that the best stewards of land are the people who live on them and use them every day.
But the president and his team now use the Antiquities Act to instead place bureaucrats in control of millions of acres of our heartland and seas.
Their actions fly in the face of the actual intent of the Antiquities Act. Roosevelt designated the first national monument under the legislation in 1906 when he set aside Devils Tower in Wyoming. The original intent of the Antiquities Act was to stop the destruction of natural resources and to set aside, "historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest … in the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of objects."
In setting aside 550 million acres over the course of eight years, Obama's use of the Antiquities Act hardly complies with the "smallest area compatible" requirement of the 1906 law.
His designations are enormously expensive. Local economies lose out on valuable natural resources. Aside from the added personnel costs, our government owes payments in lieu of taxes to compensate local governments for the tax revenue they would gain through the productive use of their lands, if those lands weren't restricted by the federal government.
Even worse, many of his designations went against the wishes of the officials elected to represent those regions of the country. In Utah, county leaders, state legislators, Gov. Gary Herbert and the entire congressional delegation opposed the recent monument designation. They tried to make the voices of their constituents heard, but Obama ignored their pleadings.
Shamefully, Obama is considering even more designations in his final days in office. Under a 110-year-old law, our country's natural resource policies are being dictated to us. That's not how democracy works, though. If Obama wants to violate the letter and spirit of the Antiquities Act, he needs to ask Congress first. Congress' response would be an emphatic, "No."
I'm hopeful the 115th Congress and President-elect Trump will work to improve the Antiquities Act and rein in presidential overreach through congressional action.
Already in this first week of the 115th Congress, the new Republican majority has made empowering local communities a priority. The House streamlined the process for members of Congress to return federal lands to state and local governments, giving Americans control of what happens in their backyards. For a state like Colorado, where 36 percent of our land is owned by the federal government, we could stand to return at least some portion back to the residents of the state.
Everyone in Washington should remember the words of Roosevelt, the president who originally signed the Antiquities Act: "The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value."
Rather than setting our country off-limits to our children, let's wisely steward our lands and resources, and teach them the same.
Congressman Ken Buck represents the Fourth District of Colorado in the United States House of Representatives.

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Buck Votes to Keep Office of Congressional Ethics

From the Denver Post:

The majority of Colorado’s Republican congressional delegation opposed a move to neuter an independent ethics office in a closed-door vote Monday.
House Republicans voted 119-74 to revamp and rename the Office of Congressional Ethics in a move that drew loud objections from Democratic lawmakers and even a complaint from President-elect Donald Trump, who expressed concern about the timing of the vote.
U.S. Reps. Ken Buck, Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn all voted against the measure in the private House GOP meeting, according to their congressional offices. U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, has not yet disclosed how he voted.
The outcry about the move to place the ethics office under the control of lawmakers forced Republicans to backtrack Tuesday, voting unanimously in an emergency meeting to reverse course.
Before the about-face, Colorado’s Republicans made their initial dissent clear as their offices were receiving a large volume of calls about the issue...
...Buck expressed a desire for changes if made in public.
“We do need reforms to strengthen the integrity of the ethics process, but those reforms should be made in a transparent way by passing a bill on the House floor,” he said in a statement.

You can read more here: Denver Post Editorial Opinion January 3, 2017

     

Buck Appointed to House Rules Committee

Representative Ken Buck will serve on the influential House Rules Committee.

House Speaker Paul Ryan appointed Buck to the committee on Tuesday.  The committee determines when and how bills are considered on the House floor as well as standing rules for the House.  

“I’m honored for the opportunity from Speaker Paul Ryan and Chairman Pete Sessions to join the House Rules Committee,” said Buck in the release. “The House has an important role to play in returning our nation to the right path, and I’m eager to get to work.”

Buck will continue to serve on the House Judiciary Committee.

Click here to read Greeley Tribune Article

Click here to read Boulder Daily Camera Article

Ken Buck Optimistic About Trump Transition

Colorado's Congressional Delegation recently commented on their views of the Trump transition and their hopes for the 115th Congress.  Ken Buck and others attended a meeting updating congress regarding the transition process by Vice President elect Pence.  Buck is optimistic about working with Trump.

"This is a man who will solve problems and is action-oriented," Rep. Buck said.  "I think that's exactly what we need in this country."

Click here to watch video KJCT8 (ABC) Grand Junction

Ken Buck and Other Officials Celebrate Funding for Flood-damaged Roads

Representative Ken Buck along with Senator Cory Gardner, Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Jared Polis hosted a press conference Wednesday, December 14 at Sylvan Dale Ranch west of Loveland to celebrate the continued federal funding for repairing and rebuilding U.S. Highway 34 and other flood-damaged infrastructure in Colorado.  

Last week, Congress approved $1 billion in new disaster relief funding for repairing and rebuilding  roads and infrastructure caused by natural disasters nationwide.  In a bipartisan effort, the two Colorado republicans (Buck and Gardner) and two democrats (Bennett and Polis) worked together to garner $252 million for the Colorado Department of Transportation for flood-damaged road projects, including approximately $186 million to finish repairs to U.S. Hwy. 34.

 "I think it's great, (U.S.) 34 is a vital part of northern Colorado's economy and I'm glad that the federal government is going to help rebuild that." said Buck.  "I had a neighbor who has a helicopter and took me up in his helicopter and I witnessed the damage from the sky and I was just amazed at the devastation that the flood created...I think it's a necessary use of the funds and I think it will benefit northern Colorado tremendously."

The first phase to repair U.S. Hwy. 34 is underway and is scheduled to be completed in May 2017. Three other phases will be completed as quickly as possible thereafter.  This will be a great benefit to residents and businesses in the area.  

"It's really a sense of pride to be here and to know that we are building something that will last a long time," said Buck.

Read more by clicking on the following links:

The Greeley Tribune

Loveland Reporter Herald

Estes Park Trail Gazette

Coloradoan

 

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck joins Second Amendment Caucus

From The Greeley Tribune:

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., announced Friday that he joined the newly launched Second Amendment Caucus.
The caucus serves as a community for members of Congress who strongly value the right to bear arms, according to a news release from Buck. They seek to prevent executive overreach that would curtail second amendment rights and to enable law-abiding citizens to possess and carry firearms.
“As a former prosecutor and a Coloradan, I’m eager to work with my fellow caucus members to uphold our constitutional rights and empower law-abiding citizens to protect themselves,” Buck said in a news release.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., led the effort to relaunch the caucus. Buck joined him and several other founding members, including Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., Ted Yoho, R-Fla., Brian Babin, R-Texas, Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Mark Meadows, R-N.C., Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., Justin Amash, R-Mich., Jody Hice, R-Ga., Dave Brat, R-Va., Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, James Comer, R-Ky., and Scott Perry, R-Pa.

Rep. Ken Buck Votes for Water Infrastructure Improvements

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday, December 8th to pass the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WRDA).  

Congressman Ken Buck joined 234 other House members in a yes vote to pass WRDA.  The legislation is expected to benefit farmers in the 4th Congressional District by funding maintenance and improvements of inland waterways and ports.

"We must invest wisely and frugally in America's infrastructure, which is why I voted for the WRDA Act," Buck said.  "Growing a bushel of Colorado corn doesn't do anyone much good if you can't get that corn to the right market."

Click here to read more details from The Greeley Tribune

 

Buck backs bill to strengthen military

From Brush News-Tribune:

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor, has voted to support Senate Bill 2943, by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, providing $619 billion for national defense, including the largest pay raise for active-duty military in six years.

The bill, named the National Defense Authorization Act, passed the House by a 375-34 vote and had previously passed the Senate.

“If we’re going to maintain peace in this world, then we must have a strong military,” Buck said in an emailed statement. “This NDAA takes care of our troops while equipping them to adequately defend our nation.”

The NDAA provides for a 2.1 percent pay raise for active-duty military, ends the military drawdown, increases ground and aviation training, provides for operation and maintenance support, replenishes depleted munitions inventories and provides for advanced funding for submarines and amphibious ships.

Additionally, the NDAA provides resources to deter Russian aggression in Europe and enhance U.S. access in the Pacific and fully funds Israel’s missile defense needs.

The bill prevents women from being required to register with the Selective Service, and to study the future use of Selective Service.

Active-duty and retired military health care is addressed.

The bill makes no changes to out-of-pocket health care costs, provides for two TRICARE plans, eliminates referrals for urgent care and addresses care at Military Treatment Facilities. Housing allowances will be unchanged by the NDAA.

The NDAA also makes significant reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including expansion of the statute of limitations for child abuse offenses and fraudulent enlistment.

The National Security Council’s staffing is capped at 200 through the NDAA, and continues the prohibition on the transfer of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center detainees to the United States.

 

REP. KEN BUCK CHAMPIONS RULE TO REASSERT ARTICLE I AUTHORITY OF CONGRESS

 

From the Greeley Tribune

Washington 
The House Republican Conference on Tuesday announced the new rules for the next session of Congress, which includes a rule from Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., prioritizing the Article I authority of Congress.
Buck’s rule ensures the House of Representatives spends time considering legislation to reassert the Article I authority of the legislative branch. 
Between excessive rule-making and executive orders, the executive branch has overstepped its constitutional authority to simply execute the laws made by Congress, stated a news release from Buck.
“Republicans promised to roll back President (Barack) Obama’s oppressive regulatory regime,” Buck said. “This House rule allows Congress to reassert its rightful authority over the executive branch by repealing excessive regulations and overreaching executive orders.”
Staff reports

Buck Leads GOP Majority to Overturn Obama's Executive Overreach

Ken Buck plans to propose a bill to amend House rules to include a weekly "single item" calendar in order to provide time to address single subject bills.  The designated time each week will pave the way for the GOP majority to systematically address and work to overturn some of President Obama's most controversial executive orders and regulations.

"We've had eight years of executive overreach, and I think Congress needs to focus on Article I power," he told the Washington Examiner.
"Not only are we going to be dealing with executive orders, we are going to be dealing with agency regulations and specifically prohibit some of the rules that have gone through the administrative procedures process [but are not yet law] and rescind them," he said.

Buck has been outspoken regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the U.S. rule expanding the definition of waters protected under the Clean Water Act.  He is also taking aim at overturning the Labor Department's overtime rule effective December 1 and an April 2017 fiduciary rule requiring financial advisors to only provide advice that is in their client's best interest.  

Click on link to read article from the Washington Examiner

 

Ken Buck Re-elected to 4th Congressional District

Ken Buck will be returning to Washington for his second term representing the 4th Congressional District. Buck soundly defeated his two opponents by garnering nearly 64% of the votes.  

"I'm honored that the people of the 4th Congressional District have decided to send my back to D.C.  It's a great job," Buck said.

Congressman Buck's priorities include dealing with the health care system, finding solutions to the immigration issues and overturning many of Obama's executive orders and administration's overreaching regulations.

Click on link to read more from the Windsor Now

 

 

 

 

 

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Denver Post says Buck "deserves re-election" to 4th Congressional District

From the Denver Post Editorial Board:

Ken Buck first won the right to represent the sprawling 4th CD, which includes Greeley and the Eastern Plains, in 2014. The former district attorney from Weld County has deep roots in the area... 
We appreciated his level-headedness in voting against the recently passed Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, which subjects American officials, military members and intelligence agents to lawsuits and shrugs off the longtime and useful principle of sovereign immunity...
We ask voters in the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th congressional districts to send Polis, Buck, Lamborn and Perlmutter back to Washington.

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Buck: I will keep fighting for you as your congressman

This Op-Ed from Congressman Buck ran in the Greeley Tribune.

Buck: I will keep fighting for you as your congressman

Two years ago you elected me to serve the 4th District as your congressman. You trusted me to take Colorado values to Washington and to speak with an independent voice. I’m deeply appreciative of the faith you placed in me, and I’ve done my best to fight for our community.

Last month, the WATER Act moved out of committee and I’m confident it will soon pass the House of Representatives. This bipartisan legislation allows ditch companies to maintain their tax-exempt status while increasing revenue so that farmers, ranchers, and ultimately rural and urban communities can have lower water prices.

I also introduced the Blue Lives Matter Act. Every time we hear news about the targeted assassination of another police officer, my heart breaks. These men and women of law enforcement live down the street and shop in the same grocery store. They deserve our protection, which is why my legislation enhances the sentence for individuals who choose to target an officer based on his or her status, calling or employment.

Finally, I’m focused on reducing poverty, which affects so many people in our district. House Republicans recently rolled out an in-depth policy proposal on this topic. I want to reward individuals who work and who invest in their skills. I also want to align poverty-fighting programs with the specific needs of individuals. At the same time, I want to add accountability to our welfare system and invest in education. We need to make existing programs work for the people, not force the people to fit an inefficient government program. We must provide opportunity to rise out of poverty, without increasing the national debt or adding tax burdens to the middle class.

We have a choice this election, a choice between saddling future generations with debt and sky-high taxes or offering them a nation more prosperous than the one we inherited. If you elect me to serve as your congressman for another term, I promise to keep fighting for our nation’s future. I humbly ask for your vote on Nov. 8.

— Ken Buck, U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 4th congressional district.

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Greeley Tribune: Buck 'good fit' for Colorado's 4th Congressional District

From the Greeley Tribune:

Tribune endorsement: Rep. Ken Buck is a good fit for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District who has earned a second term

Ken Buck is our choice to represent the 4th Congressional District.

Buck, a Windsor Republican, has represented that district — which includes all of Weld County, much of eastern Colorado and some parts of Denver-area suburbs — since he was first elected two years ago. While his stint in Congress hasn’t been entirely controversy free, he is clearly well aligned ideologically with the staunchly conservative district.

“We have over $19 trillion of debt right now, and we have over $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities in this country, and I’m going to do my very best to continue to not vote for big spending bills and make sure that every penny that is spent is spent wisely and fruitfully,” he said recently, underscoring his focus on fiscal issues.

His voice for spending restraint is important in Washington. More than that, though, he’s also shown the clear ability to jump in and get things done that will affect this area for the better.

For example, Buck is the sponsor of the WATER Act. The measure would make it easier for mutual water storage and delivery companies to invest in infrastructure and maintenance without putting their nonprofit status at risk. In short, the measure would help keep water prices low for many of the rural users — such as farmers and ranchers — in the 4th Congressional District and elsewhere. The measure passed the House Ways and Means Committee with significant support from Republicans and Democrats. It’s a good bet we’ll see the measure make its way through our bitterly divided Congress soon.

Buck, who was elected by his peers to serve as the freshman class president in Congress, has had his share of minor controversy. He took fire from anti-gun activists for posing for a photo with a gun at the Capitol. And he nearly lost his class president title in a spat with GOP leadership over Buck’s unwillingness to back a free trade bill that was important to the White House and Republican leaders.

We don’t always agree with Buck’s words or deeds, but even these controversies reveal an independent streak in Buck that we think can be as much a virtue as a vice.

We hope Buck will focus his next two years on the kind of pragmatic lawmaking demonstrated by the WATER Act. But he has earned a second term in Congress.

— The Tribune Editorial Board

 

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Denver Post applauds Buck for principled vote against JASTA

From the Denver Post Editorial page:

If the bipartisan “buyer’s remorse Congress feels for passing a popular bill for victims of Sept. 11 over the president’s veto came from a lack of information, then three members of Colorado’s congregation who opposed it should be applauded for at least doing their homework.
Voting against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, was a hard vote in an election year — but it was the right one.
Yes, it’s easy to imagine the negative campaign ads that could be developed. No one wants to be accused of not supporting the families who lost their loved ones in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
Colorado Reps. Ken Buck, a Republican, and Democrats Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter were among only 78 members of Congress who opposed JASTA. We wish others had been as thoughtful.
JASTA, once you get past its nod to 9/11 victims, subjects American diplomats, military members, intelligence agents and officials to the danger of lawsuits. The new law flouts the longtime protections granted by the principle of sovereign immunity of nations, and also risks a drain of economic investment from countries like Saudi Arabia angry or nervous about it.
JASTA is broad. It allows lawsuits against foreign nations in federal court for involvement in acts of terrorism on U.S. soil. However, it was specifically aimed at allowing families of victims of 9/11 who believe that Saudi Arabia played a role in the attacks to file suit.
President Barack Obama vetoed the bill and it’s the first time Congress has been able to muster enough votes for an override during his tenure. In his veto message, Obama said the measure “undermines core U.S. interests.”
Almost immediately after the bill became law, Republican leaders in the House and Senate expressed concern that the bill might have unintended consequences and called for a fix when Congress returns in November. They chided Obama and his administration for failing to articulate concerns, despite the veto letter.

Congressman Buck attends memorial ground breaking in Lamar

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Congressman Buck attends memorial ground breaking in Lamar

Last weekend, Congressman Buck attended the ground breaking ceremony for the Tri-State 9/11 Tribute Memorial in Lamar. 

From the Prowers Journal:

History was being made while our past was being celebrated at the Big Timbers Museum in Lamar, Saturday, October 1st.
Two occasions were noted; the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Prowers County Historical Society’s Big Timbers Museum and groundbreaking for the future Tri-State 9/11 Tribute Memorial on the museum’s property...
Big Timbers Museum Curator, Kathleen Scranton, said, “Our success at the museum has been defined by the generosity of the County, starting with the donation of the building by the AT&T Phone Company in 1966.” She gave thanks to the Historical Society for all the work the group has volunteered in categorizing all the display items.
Board member, Sharon Hetrick, recounted the early days of the Society and the history of her family’s involvement in the museum, dating back to the Weldon-Green families and the role they played in establishing the museum.
U.S. Congressman Ken Buck from the 4th Congressional District, remarked on the groundbreaking ceremony for the 9/11 Tribute Memorial. “This memorial will honor those persons who have risked or given their lives in defense of their nation and first responders who continue to serve their neighbors in the country.  Many of these people never stopped to give a thought of their own welfare while they were securing the safety of others.  And many gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan to ensure that the battle they fought would not reach our land.”

 

 

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Buck meets with farmers on WATER Act

Congressman Buck met with local farmers and ranchers this week to discuss his WATER Act as well as other issues facing the agricultural community. 

From the Greeley Tribune:

Although most of the conversation circled around Buck’s WATER Act — which would allow irrigation and ditch companies to use revenue from non-members for infrastructure — the roundtable also explored problems caused by what many felt were burdensome government regulations.
Buck said he’s confident the bill, with its nonpartisan focus, has a good chance of passing quickly into law. Once it does, he said, it should help irrigation and ditch companies get more money to upgrade old and possibly outdated systems and infrastructure.
“We’re excited,” said Eaton farmer Lynn Fagerberg. “We’d like to get this done.”
Ranchers and farmers can’t compete with cities and towns out to buy farmland and dry it up for the water rights, said Wyoming and northern Colorado cattle farmer Gary Booth. If they can get the money to make upgrades that increase efficiency, maybe the extra water those efficiencies create could take away some of the demand that forces dry-up practices.
Those upgrades can cost a lot of money, though, said Windsor Farmer Ken Knievel. If the bill can help them get the money they need for upgrade, it could help a lot.
“This bill won’t fix everything,” Booth said. “It’ll be a good step.”
Buck said it reassured him to hear his efforts on the WATER Act were making progress in a direction farmers and ranchers felt would help. Meeting with his constituents, the people actually feeling the effects of congress and government, help give him the insight and ideas he uses in Washington, he said.
“The best ideas in Congress and the legislature come from this room,” Buck said.

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Blue lives matter: Attacks on police based on their uniform should be a federal crime

As district attorney of Weld County, Colo., I sat across the table from victims of hate crimes. When a friend or family member lies dead in the street or comatose in the hospital, the hate cuts a wound deeper than the attacker’s weapon.

It’s clearly wrong for criminals to target individuals based on inherent traits or closely held behaviors and beliefs. It’s equally wrong for criminals to target individuals based on the color of their uniform. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation to make the intentional targeting of a police officer a federal hate crime.

Current federal hate crime laws enhance the sentence for criminals who target a victim simply because of the victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The idea is that targeting someone for one of these immutable characteristics, behaviors, or closely held beliefs is an especially egregious attack on their humanity, and the emotional impact on the victim and his or her family is amplified.

When someone randomly shoots at a police officer, he’s creating the same environment and the same impact as other crimes of hate, which is why they should face prosecution under the federal hate crime statute.

Every week we hear examples of cases that qualify for charging cop killers with hate crimes. More and more often we’re witnessing hate-motivated attacks on police.

Police officers know they’ve engaged in a dangerous line of work. But someone must protect our neighborhoods and uphold justice in our cities. They’ve chosen to answer the call to duty, sacrifice and service to their community.

This is why a targeted attack on a police officer is especially jarring. The officer has committed his or her life to holding together the very fabric of the community, but the attacker seeks to destroy that life and that fabric.

These attacks on officers cause fear, devastation and feelings of alienation. The entire police force rides an emotional roller coaster, trying their best to protect the rest of society while coping with the devastating loss of one of their own and the threat to themselves and their loved ones.

These crimes against law enforcement have an impact far beyond the station headquarters. If we’re going to have justice and peace in our communities, we need an empowered, functional police department that’s not being torn apart by crimes of hate. Police officers under threat of random assassination simply for their uniform color can’t effectively fight all the other criminals in our community.

Not only will hate crimes against cops make the community less safe, they will also make the community less whole. Our cities and neighborhoods are diverse. Greeley, Colo., where I served as district attorney, saw the intermingling of people from a variety of different ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds. Meshing various cultures, customs and faiths in one community can be challenging, but it’s absolutely necessary to achieve the unity that is required to form a cohesive society.

Police officers play a vital role in integrating these societies, because they protect all of our rights, and implement the system of justice that keeps us all safe. They may slip up sometimes. But our communities won’t be complete or whole if the very people charged with maintaining public order and enforcing the law are themselves the targets of vicious and hateful attacks.

The criminals who commit crimes against law enforcement seek to create a climate of intimidation and terror, one in which police officers and the folks they look out for every day live in fear of violent attacks. The Blue Lives Matter Act will make our communities safer by protecting those who protect us.

Read More: Blue lives matter

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GOP bill would make violence against cops a hate crime

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GOP bill would make violence against cops a hate crime

Rep. Ken Buck introduced legislation on Wednesday that would make violence against police officers a federal hate crime.

The Colorado Republican's bill is a response to increasing violence against police officers that has been seen in the wake of several high-profile police shootings. Those shootings prompted the launch of the "Black Lives Matter" movement, which in turn has led to a counter-movement that claims "All Lives Matter."

Buck's bill takes the debate a step further, as it's called the Blue Lives Matter Act. It would add violence against police officers to federal hate crime laws, and thus could lead to tougher sentences against people who commit violence against cops.

Read More: GOP bill would make violence against cops a hate crime

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