Hopes for legislation on new police reforms that were passed before the election faded on Tuesday despite protests across the country calling for change after the recent police killings of American blacks.
The dueling bills put forward in Congress, one of the House Democrats, where they have the majority, and the other of the Republicans in the Republican-led Senate, seem increasingly condemned, amid deep partisan divisions.
Senate Democrats sent a letter Tuesday to Majority Leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell. noting that they will block Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s police reform bill, describing the legislation as “woefully inadequate,” rather than debating and trying to amend it.
Senate Minority Leader and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer said “no bill will pass” if Republicans put it on the Senate floor Wednesday and instead called for bipartisan talks.
Senate Republicans need seven of their fellow Democrats to vote with them on the motion to proceed in order to move the Scott bill forward, so Democrats have the ability to block the legislation if they are unified in opposition to it.
Meanwhile, a contrasting House bill drafted by Democrats is likely to get enough votes to pass in that house later this week, but McConnell has said the Democratic legislation is not an initiative in the Senate.
In his letter, Schumer and fellow Democratic senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris wrote: “This is a serious challenge that requires serious solutions. Bringing the JUSTICE Act to the Senate floor is a woefully inadequate response, and we urge you to bring meaningful legislation to the floor for a vote. “
They added: “This bill is not recoverable and we need bipartisan talks to get to a constructive starting point.”
The partisan confrontation means that Congress is less likely to pass any police reform legislation before the November elections, despite strong calls for change and measures by some states and cities to advance their own reforms.
“There’s probably no way forward in this Congress if they block the debate tomorrow,” in the Senate bill, Republican Senator Roy Blunt said on Capitol Hill.
Democratic lawmakers have previously complained that Scott’s bill only incentivizes police departments to prohibit police bottlenecks by threatening to withhold federal funds.
In contrast, the House Democrats’ police reform bill explicitly prohibits police bottlenecks and no-touch orders. George Floyd, an African American, was killed in Minneapolis last month after a white police officer pressed his knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes while holding him to the ground during an attempted arrest.
His dying cries of “I can’t breathe” echoed other police killings using suffocation restrictions, especially Eric Garner in New York in 2014, and once again turned into a cry of protest during protests led by the Black Lives movement. Matter.
Breonna Taylor was shot dead by police in Louisville, Kentucky earlier this year during a failed raid when officers broke into her home without warning.