GOP congressmen demand Dem apology over vote 'against' NYPD

New York City's two Republican congressional representatives are calling on Democrats to apologize for backing an amendment that effectively rebuked the New York Police Department over its controversial counterterrorism tactics.

Republican Reps. Peter King and Bob Turner called the vote a "shameful surrender to political correctness."

The proposal, which failed this past Wednesday on a mostly party-line vote, would have prohibited funding for law enforcement organizations engaged in unconstitutional or unlawful discrimination. Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., the sponsor, made clear on the House floor that the measure was aimed at the NYPD.

Holt cited the "disturbing stories" written by the Associated Press about the department's "profiling" of Arab-Americans in New York City and the surrounding region. Holt said communities were infiltrated "simply because they were Muslim," while suggesting the department's programs marked an "unthinking, lazy, unprofessional approach" to police work.

"Further, concern over these tactics is bipartisan," Holt told in a statement. "New Jersey's Republican governor, Chris Christie, has said that reports of the NYPD's extrajurisdictional spying are 'disturbing.' Sixteen of Mr. King's Republican colleagues joined many Democrats last week in expressing concern over the use of religious profiling."

In a joint statement released Saturday by King and Turner, the congressmen rejected Holt's words and condemned Democrats for supporting the amendment -- the measure failed on a 232-193 vote, with mostly Democrats supporting it.

"We are utterly dumbfounded and shocked that after such a slanderous attack, the overwhelming majority of congressional Democrats and the entire Democratic leadership voted for the Holt amendment and against the NYPD," they said. "We believe the Democrats owe New York and the NYPD an explanation for their shameful surrender to political correctness."

City officials, as well as King and Turner, have defended the department's tactics as effective and legal. Their tactics also have not been found to be unconstitutional, meaning Holt's amendment might not have had much practical effect on the NYPD's funding.

"My amendment, which was supported by nearly 200 members of the House, simply said that taxpayer dollars should not go to support inappropriate or illegal activities by any law enforcement agency," Holt said.