House and Senate Democrats said Wednesday they do not support a GOP police reform bill because it does not go far enough, setting up a clash between the two parties that could ultimately stall getting a measure to the president’s desk.
“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,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said during a floor speech.
Senate Republicans unveiled the Justice Act earlier Wednesday and announced they will bring it to the floor for consideration next week.
The measure bans chokeholds and requires police reporting on the use of force. It calls for data collection on no-knock warrants and provides funding and incentives for police officers to use body cameras. The measure provides funding for police officer training and creates a commission to study the social status of black men and boys.
House and Senate Democrats have authored their own police reform measure, the Justice in Policing Act, they said goes further in holding police accountable for misconduct and racial bias.
The House Judiciary Committee will advance the measure on Wednesday, and the House is expected to pass it by the end of the month.
“The Senate proposal of studies and reporting without transparency and accountability is inadequate,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said. “The Senate’s so-called Justice Act is not action.”
There are similarities between the two measures. Both ban federal law enforcement from using the chokehold and withhold funding from local police departments that use the tactic.
The GOP bill keeps chokeholds legal in cases where an officer faces lethal force.
“Who determines when deadly force is needed?” Schumer said. “Usually the police themselves, and courts defer to their judgment.”
The House eliminates qualified immunity for officers and would make them accountable for deaths that occur by “knowingly or reckless disregard” for a person’s safety.
Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, criticized the GOP bill as a “token, half-hearted approach” that does not hold police accountable for racial bias and misconduct that has resulted in the wrongful deaths black Americans.
Senate Republicans need some Democratic cooperation to win the 60 votes needed to begin debating the legislation.
Pelosi signaled in a statement Wednesday that she will work with Republicans to find a compromise.
“House Democrats hope to work in a bipartisan way to pass legislation that creates meaningful change to end the epidemic of racial injustice and police brutality in America,” Pelosi said.
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