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Ranking Member Nadler Opening Statement for House Judiciary Committee Hearing on "Victims of Violent Crime in Philadelphia"

Today, Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening statement, as prepared, for the House Judiciary Committee field hearing on "Victims of Violent Crime in Philadelphia":

"Mr. Chairman, today, the Majority has insisted that we go to Philadelphia, the fourth stop in a tour of cities that Republicans have selected as they try to distract from the fact that they have no meaningful solutions to make our country safer.  Instead, they have repeatedly focused Committee activities on vilifying immigrants, dismantling commonsense gun laws, and pursuing wild conspiracy theories for which they have found no evidence. 

While I am always pleased to visit the great city of Philadelphia, and I have no doubt that we will learn a lot, our time would be better spent back in D.C. passing bills that can help support Philadelphia and all our communities to be safer places for every American.  We should be passing bills to invest in public safety and better law enforcement, bills that we know will saves lives from gun violence, and bills that address the root causes of violent crime. 

I know we can do it because we have done it before—when Democrats were in charge of this Committee.   

But Philadelphia, like many cities, has not waited for House Republicans to change course.  Many states and cities have taken action to address gun violence, to invest in public safety and law enforcement, and to address the root causes of crime, like homelessness and economic instability.  Many cities’ efforts were supported through the American Rescue Plan, which included $350 billion of flexible aid to state and local governments.  And many states have pursued the same ideas that House Democrats have advanced to reduced gun violence, such as enacting extreme risk protection orders or expanded background checks at the state level. 

State and local governments have also received funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which funded a range of gun violence prevention programs.  All of these efforts have begun to have a meaningful impact: crime fell in 2023 and is continuing to fall in 2024. 

So far this year, Philadelphia has had 35% fewer homicides—more than a third less—than it did during the same period in 2024.  That’s dozens of lives saved, hundreds of families kept whole.  But we know it is not nearly enough.

I want to thank the families of victims for being here to share your stories.  While there is less crime than there was a year ago, your stories are a reminder that we must always do more.  Every life lost has a profound impact on both the family and the community where that person should still be alive today.  And while homicides are the most serious crimes, we know that other violent crimes also leave a lasting mark on individuals whose lives may never be the same.  For every survivor and victim of violent crime with us today and across the country, I remain committed to doing more to help you and to prevent more people from experiencing what you have faced.

Mrs. O’Connor, there is no law that will bring back your husband.  Mr. & Mrs. Fitzgerald, there is no grant program that will ever bring back your son.  But I believe we do have solutions to prevent gun violence, including gun violence against law enforcement officers, like your loved ones. 

I appreciate the opportunity to hear from members of law enforcement, from those who have lost a family member to violent crime, and to those working toward life-saving solutions.  I just wish it were part of a serious effort on the part of Republicans to find bipartisan solutions to the challenges we face with violent crime instead of pure political theater designed to fit a false narrative about Democrats.

If Republicans were serious about addressing violent crime, we would not be in Philadelphia, but in one of their own districts.  We have yet to have a hearing on victims of violent crime in any of the 6 states with the highest per capita murder rates, all of whom are led by Republicans and all of whom voted for Trump in 2020.

Nonetheless, I hope we can learn something today about how Philadelphia has achieved its recent reductions in violent crime and how we can further support its public safety efforts and the efforts of state and local governments nationwide.  We know that this is not just the work of government or law enforcement, but that we must also include the work of community organizations, public health experts, educators, researchers, and more.  It is only by working together that we will make progress.

I thank our witnesses for being here, and I yield back."


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