Senate Democrats Block Republican Police Reform Bill

Democrats choose partisanship over progress

Posted on Jun 24, 2020

Democrats blocked a Senate Republican supported police reform bill, after George Floyd’s death led to national calls for new legislation.

The GOP legislation was led by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and entailed beefing up requirements for law enforcement to track and report use of force complaints. It wrote into law the Breonna Taylor Notification Act to track “no knock” warrants, and told police agencies to do away with chokeholds or risk losing federal funds.

Democrats shut down even the procedural vote, which would have brought the bill to the floor to debate.  They argued the bill didn’t go far enough to outlaw chokeholds and didn’t end qualified immunity, two of their key sticking points. Sen. Scott offered Democrats the chance to offer at least 20 amendments to his bill, but instead, they just walked out.

Sen. Scott responded to the highly partisan vote, which does nothing for the American public:

“How does that work, around the country, when instead of getting 70 percent of what you wanted today, tomorrow and next week, you get zero? And you’re going to wait for an election to get more? Okay. Well, why wouldn’t you take the 80 percent now and then see if you can win the election and add the other 20 percent? You’ve got to be kidding me!

Because the who matters. They cannot allow this party to be seen as a party that reaches out to all communities in this nation. And unfortunately, without the kind of objectivity in the media that is necessary to share the message of what’s actually happening, no one will ever know.”

Sen. Scott’s legislation would’ve promoted better police training, accountability and transparency in our communities. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats prioritized partisanship over progress.

Still, President Donald J. Trump is committed to fostering close ties between law enforcement and their communities. He  signed an executive order to encourage law enforcement across the country to adopt best practices for the communities they serve. The President also announced that the Administration will be allocating certain grant funding to only those law enforcement agencies that meet high standards. His executive action:

  • Incentivizes law enforcement agencies to use a nationwide database to track terminations, criminal convictions, and civil judgments against law enforcement officers for excessive use-of-force.
  • Prioritizes training and other programs to aid police and social workers responding to incidents involving the mentally ill, addicted, and homeless.

Sen. Scott’s legislation would provide key reforms building on the bold action President Trump has taken. The President has encouraged Congress to do more and continue these efforts. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats refused to do so.