Nearly Unanimous Congress Thwarts Attorney General

The Republican-led House of Representatives approved three amendments to a large spending bill Tuesday that would attempt to block Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ civil asset forfeiture directive.

In July, Sessions announced he was ending restrictions put in place by former attorney general Eric Holder on when federal law enforcement could “adopt” asset forfeiture cases from state and local police.

Asset forfeiture—a practice that allows police to seize property suspected of being connected to criminal activity, even when the owner is not charged with a crime—has come under bipartisan criticism in recent years. Holder’s directive was intended to stop local police from using federal adoptions to bypass stricter state asset forfeiture laws passed in response to those criticisms.

Sessions’ July order was met with outrage from not just Democrats, but also several Republican lawmakers who have opposed the practice. As Reason previously reported, Republican and Democrat members introduced amendments in August to try and use Congress’ power of the purse to block the Justice Department from being able to spend any funds on implementing Sessions’ order: