Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) announced on Wednesday that they have introduced the Back the Blue Act, which would increase the penalties for criminals who intentionally target law enforcement officers, and provide new tools for officers to protect themselves.

Among other things, the law would make it a federal crime for killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring to kill a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer, or federally funded public safety officer. The offender would be subject to the death penalty and a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years if death results; the offender would otherwise face a minimum sentence of 10 years.

The lawmakers said in a joint press release that Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Dean Heller (R-NV), David Perdue (R-GA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Luther Strange (R-AL) cosponsored the legislation.

"Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve families across Texas. Violent criminals who deliberately target those who protect and serve our communities should face swift and tough penalties and the Back the Blue Act sends that clear message. Every day, and particularly during National Police Week, we must give the men and women in blue our unparalleled support," Cornyn said.

"As a prosecutor and Judge for over 30 years, I have had the privilege of working alongside some of America’s best, the men and women in blue," said Poe. "Each day they wake up, place the badge—the shield—over their heart and head out into our communities to protect us. The dastardly criminals who intentionally target those who serve the thin blue line must not be allowed to walk free. The Back the Blue Act increases the punishment for those who seek to harm our peace officers. Today, Congress is sending the message that blue lives matter."

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