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Amash, Gabbard Lead Major Victory Against Civil Asset Forfeiture

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

A unique bipartisan coalition led by US Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) scored a huge victory on Civil Asset Forfeiture Tuesday.

The US House approved an amendment -- added to the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act -- to rollback Attorney General Jeff Session's plan to revive a federal civil asset forfeiture program that allowed local and state law enforcement to seize assets and property from suspects and give them to the federal government without the suspect being charged or convicted of a crime.

The federal government would then give a chunk of these assets back to the local departments.

Heavy restrictions were put on the program -- called the Equitable Sharing Program -- under the Obama administration. AG Sessions, however, announced in June that the federal government was going to revive and expand it.

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The vote comes as a surprise to some as many House Republicans and Democrats joined forces to challenge the administration's policy -- potentially causing a bigger intra-party rift within the GOP in Congress and its relationship with the Trump administration.

The amendment had a total of nine co-sponsors from across the political aisle.

The Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act is an appropriations act for several government agencies across many departments for the next fiscal year. It is awaiting approval from Congress.

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