Congress Faces Standoff On Police Reform After GOP Releases Its Own Plan

Senate Republicans introduced a police reform proposal on Tuesday, setting up a standoff with House Democrats, who released their own plan last week.

Unlike the House bill, the Republican bill would not end qualified immunity for law enforcement, a key issue for reformers. The legal doctrine gives police a broad liability shield in court which makes it nearly impossible to sue officers over wrongdoing.

The GOP bill would discourage, but not ban, the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants by withholding federal funding to departments that do not comply.

The bill would also require police to report all officer-involved deaths to the FBI and encourages wider use of body cameras.

It would also make lynching a federal hate crime, establish a commission to review police tactics, and encourage de-escalation training.

Democrats go further:

The House bill goes much further. The legislation would ban chokeholds, create a national police misconduct registry, and provides incentives to provide racial bias training.

The bill also limits the transfer of military equipment to law enforcement agencies. It, too, would make lynching a federal hate crime.

Unlike the GOP bill, the House legislation would target qualified immunity and make it easier to prosecute and sue bad cops.

McConnell says House bill already dead:

“The House version is going nowhere in the Senate. ... We have no interest in that,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday.

McConnell said the Senate would vote on the bill by early next week.

"I'm going to file cloture on the motion to proceed and our Democratic friends, if they want to make a law, and not just try to make a point, I hope they'll join us in getting on the bill and trying to move forward in the way the Senate does move forward when it's trying to actually get an outcome," McConnell said.

Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said "we have only had the bill for a few hours and are reviewing it, but what's clear is that the Senate Republican proposal on policing does not rise to the moment."

"We expect our Republican colleagues to work with us to make significant improvement to any legislation in order for it to pass. We take this very seriously. As we continue to review the Republican legislation, I will be talking with my caucus about the best way to strengthen it. This bill will need dramatic improvement," he added.


Related News