Senate GOP policing bill fails; House will pass its policing bill on Thursday


I broke down the differences between the Senate GOP policing reform bill, dubbed the “Just and Unifying Solutions To Invigorate Communities Everywhere Act of 2020” aka JUSTICE Act, and the Democratic House policing reform bill, dubbed the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act” aka the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, in this earlier post, Action Alert: tell your members of Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

As Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and Crime Subcommittee Chair, who led the Democratic effort said, the GOP approach “definitely mimics parts of our [bill] but without the teeth.”

It was all about creating the illusion of doing something, when it actually does very little.

A number of civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the National Urban League, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, expressed support for the Democrats bill.

The GOP bill was drafted by Republicans without any Democratic input. It was not marked up in any committee hearing. Republicans wanted to advance this weak bill by going to the Senate floor directly, only giving Democrats the opportunity to offer amendments, which would require 60 votes in McConnell’s Senate, ensuring that no amendments would pass. It is a sham process. Senate Democrats call GOP policing bill ‘not salvageable,’ signal they will block measure:

Democrats criticized a Senate Republican plan as inadequate, arguing that it falls far short of a substantive transformation of controversial policing practices, and they laid the groundwork to stall the measure. Republicans countered that their proposal was a viable starting point for legislation and said Democratic resistance was a sign that the party was interested only in scoring political points months ahead of the elections.

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“We can’t answer the people’s demand for accountability with watered-down politics,” said Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), a former presidential candidate who is on the shortlist to be the party’s choice for vice president. “I will say we cannot answer their demand with this Republican attempt to obstruct real progress and real justice in our country.”

Harris, along with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), arguing for bipartisan negotiations on the policing overhaul bill before the legislation faces a key test vote Wednesday.

In the letter, Booker and Harris — the Senate’s two black Democrats — and Schumer called the GOP bill “not salvageable.”

This is Mitch McConnell’s favorite partisan tactic. You see, Mitch McConnell doesn’t really want to pass a policing reform bill. So he puts forward a weak GOP bill that he knows Democrats cannot support. When Democrats reject his weak GOP bill, Republicans will claim that “Democrats are only interested only in scoring political points,” which is exactly what Republicans are doing by pursuing this sham process and blaming Democrats for their bill’s defeat. In the final analysis, Mitch McConnell gets exactly what he wants: no action on policing reforms, and a fresh opportunity to engage in partisan attacks.

Keep this in mind.

Today, Senate Democrats block GOP policing bill, calling it ‘irrevocably flawed’ and ‘partisan’:

A motion to open debate on the measure, which needed 60 votes, failed 55-45.

Ahead of the vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republicans for what he called a “partisan” and “irrevocably flawed” approach to fixing the problem of police brutality, which has come into sharp focus in the weeks after the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers.

“I want to ask the American people, I want to ask Republican senators, who is a better guardian of the civil rights of African Americans when it comes to police reform, the NAACP or Mitch McConnell?” Schumer said. “So don’t get on your sanctimonious horse, leader McConnell. You have none of the civil rights community behind you.”

Schumer predicted the bill would “likely fail” and said McConnell should allow bipartisan negotiations when it does.

Aaand right on cue: Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications, tweeted that it was “a shame” that Democrats were “playing politics” with the legislation. Mitch McConnell’s partisan bullshit is so predictable.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday that Republicans “have some suggestions that are worthy of consideration. But so far, they were trying to get away with murder, actually — the murder of George Floyd” — prompting Senate Republicans to demand an apology.

Oh, snap! Nancy has no more fucks to give.

The House plans to vote Thursday on the Democratic proposal, which is expected to pass the chamber.

The House bill will pass, probably on a party-line vote, demonstrating that House Republicans are not serious about substantive transformational police reforms. The “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act” aka the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, will then go to the Senate, where Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) have introduced the Senate version of this House bill.

The “Grim Reaper” of the “legislative graveyard” in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has said the Democratic bill, which has 227 co-sponsors in the House and 36 in the Senate, is “going nowhere” in his chamber … because “states rights!”

So the real reason policing reforms may not pass in Congress is because Mitch McConnell will not allow the Democratic bill to come up for a vote in the Senate. This evil GOP bastard gets what he wants: no action on policing reforms, and a fresh opportunity to engage in partisan attacks.

Look, if you want real policing reforms, contact your members of Congress and tell them to pass the House bill George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and if there are good elements in the Senate GOP bill, amend the House bill to include those good elements. Let’s get this done. But enough with Mitch McConnell’s bullshit gamesmanship. It’s time to send him back to his old Kentucky home.

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