The House of Representatives approved extensive criminal justice reforms Thursday to curb excessive use of force by law enforcement following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by Minneapolis police earlier exactly one month.
The package was crafted exclusively by the majority of Democrats, generating howls of criticism from Republican leaders, and its approval was never in doubt, as Democrats of all stripes joined in a vote of 236 to 181 to send the measure to the Senate.
Democrats hope to take advantage of the momentum generated by the massive protests that followed Floyd’s death to move a long list of police reforms that they have pushed, unsuccessfully, for years or even decades.
“With all those people protesting, this is not the time to do symbolism,” said the representative. Karen bassKaren Ruth Bass Democrats block Republican police reform bill amid Senate deadlock The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Attracting voters, Trump autographs the Biden campaign of the Arizona border wall investigating the president of the Black Caucus Congress, Karen Bass, as possible executive partner (D-Calif.), Head of the Black Caucus of Congress (CBC) and sponsor of the House bill. “We have to make a substantial change.”
What happens next, however, remains unknown.
Floyd’s death on May 25 sparked a historic public outcry, triggering marches in cities across the country and putting intense pressure on Washington to address racial injustices in the police. But parties are fiercely divided over how far Congress should go in the process, and a stubborn partisan stalemate in the Senate has fueled further doubts that an agreement can be reached before the November elections.
Democrats, led by Bass and other CBC leaders, say the moment demands a drastic rethink of how law enforcement is carried out, with new eyes to eradicate racial disparities. His legislation, the George Floyd Police Justice Act, includes direct choke bans and direct arrest warrants for all federal law enforcement agencies; creates a national registry of police abuse; and makes it easier to prosecute and sue individual officials in cases of misconduct.
Promoting that aggressive approach, speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence’s confidante helps 24-year-old beat Trump-backed candidate Pelosi, who refuses to apologize for accusing the Republican Party of “trying to get away with it” with a police reform bill. (D-Calif.) He said that the House bill, by holding abusive officers accountable, “will fundamentally transform police culture to tackle systemic racism, curb police brutality and save lives.”
“We don’t paint all the police officers with the same brush,” Pelosi said on the floor shortly before Thursday’s vote. “But, for those who need to be painted with that brush, we must take the measures contained in this bill.”
Republicans behind the senator Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene Scott Police reform in limbo after Senate setback Trump says police reform cannot sacrifice protections for law enforcement Pelosi refuses to apologize for accusing the Republican Party of ‘trying to escape with murder ‘with the police reform bill MORE (RS.C.) in the upper chamber are taking a softer focus. Its legislation aims to eliminate racial profiling and police brutality, not with federal bans and mandates, but with new studies and financial incentives for state and local police departments to enact reforms on their own.
Republican leaders contend that the Democrats’ proposal goes too far to federalize state and local law enforcement, while removing legal protections that will expose officers to undue responsibility, and make it difficult for departments to find good recruits.
Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen Collins Justice Department Officials Say Decisions Are Politicized House members argue amid complaint that the Senate could certainly use a pastor: Georgia Democrat seeks to seize the “moral moment” MORE (R-Ga.) He said that the recent removal of those legal shields at campuses around Atlanta has already threatened an exodus of officers, who are now applying elsewhere, “because they don’t think they can be backed up.”
“That’s the problem with this bill,” said Collins, a former high-ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee running for the Senate, on the floor of the House.
The competing bills share some overlap on key issues.
Both, for example, provide additional funds for police training and education programs; both encourage the ubiquitous use of body cameras; and both make lynching a federal crime.
But the differences elsewhere are stark, and Democrats have rejected the Republican bill, saying it is too weak to correct racial disparities that affect the culture of law enforcement, and ignores protesters’ demands for reform. dramatic.
“What Senator Scott has put forward has no teeth at all. It is aspirational, “said the representative. GK ButterfieldGeorge (GK) Kenneth ButterfieldCongress should reinstate the tax certificate program to encourage diversity of media ownership. Mourners, relatives and lawmakers in North Carolina gather to pay their respects to George Floyd Democrats introduce coronavirus-focused privacy legislation (DN.C.), a former president of CBC. “It is a recommendation for the local police. And we are past the time of recommendations.
By creating a national database of police misconduct, the Democratic bill aims to prevent abusive officers from being rehired in another jurisdiction.
The move would also end the practice of no-hit orders, which allow police officers who regularly work on drug cases to enter a house or other premises without announcing their presence.
Proponents say the ban is necessary to prevent tragedies such as the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black emergency medical technician who died in a raid on her home in March. Louisville police officers shot him eight times while executing a no-hit order in a drug case that did not focus on Taylor.
The Senate bill, by contrast, contains a requirement that police departments report cases where they use do not touch orders.
By passing the Bass legislation Thursday, Democrats hope to increase pressure on reluctant Senate GOP leaders to push for stronger reforms. And in the protesters, they see the political vehicle for that to happen.
“It is always public pressure that leads to transformative change,” Bass said. “Therefore, the pressure must be kept up, and I hope it is. I hope that people will protest every day, peacefully, but I hope that they will protest every day.”
Republican lawmakers, however, have shown no sign of giving in. They are criticizing Democrats for crafting a partisan bill initially, and then rejecting all the Republican Party amendments as the bill passed through the Judiciary Committee this month.
“It really depends on the Democrats,” Scott said Thursday, a few hours before the House vote. “They have to come to the table for something.”
Rep. Jerrold nadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis Nadler Justice Department officials say the decisions are politicized House members argue amid Barr’s complaint to testify at the House oversight hearing next month MORE (DN.Y.), president of the Judicial Committee, said that the Democrats stand firm and are betting on the power of public protest to advance the negotiations.
“Republicans in the Senate cannot be allowed, and will not be allowed, to thwart the will of the country,” Nadler said. “They must support our legislation. And I predict that eventually it may take a while for the pressure to build up in the country, they will. “