Democrats roundly rejected the Republican police reform proposal, casting doubt on whether any such reform measure will be able to clear both chambers of Congress, The Associated Press reports.
House Democrats introduced a bill earlier this month that would, among other things, roll back qualified immunity, ban no-knock warrants and chokeholds, make it easier to prosecute bad cops, create a federal database to track misconduct and a nationwide use-of-force standard, and limit military equipment to police departments.
Senate Republicans rolled out their own plan last week that would create a national database of use-of-force incidents, urge departments to stop using chokeholds, and implement new training procedures.
Democrats say GOP bill not enough:
“This bill is not salvageable and we need bipartisan talks to get to a constructive starting point,” Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker said in a letter to Mitch McConnell, calling the proposal “so threadbare and lacking in substance that it does not even provide a proper baseline for negotiations.”
“We will not meet this moment by holding a floor vote on the Justice Act, nor can we simply amend this bill,” they wrote.
“No bill will pass as a result of this ploy by Senator McConnell,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “The Republican majority has given the Senate a bad bill and proposed no credible way to sufficiently improve it.”
McConnell faults Democrats:
McConnell put the blame on Democrats, who were the first to release their police reform proposal.
“The American people deserve better than a political stalemate,” he said. “The American people deserve for the Senate to take up this issue at this time. Senate Republicans want to have this discussion.”
Harris rejected his narrative.
“Don’t let anyone dare suggest we are standing in the way of progress,” she said. “Let us all be clear about what is happening in the politics of this moment: The Republican bill has been thrown out to give lip service to an issue with nothing substantial in it that would have saved any of those lives.”