New Democrat Coalition Endorses Comprehensive Push to “Achieve Racial Justice”

June 3, 2020 by Gaspard Le Dem
Demonstrators march in Tampa Sunday, May 31, 2020 for a second day in a row as protestors take to the streets of Tampa to protest the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (Martha Asencio-Rhine/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

WASHINGTON – The New Democrat Coalition, an alliance of centrist Democrats in Congress, condemned racially motivated police violence on Wednesday in the wake of nationwide unrest following the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minnesota.

“The murder of George Floyd has brought back into light for many Americans the continued racial injustice that still unfortunately exists in our country,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., chair of the NDC, in a statement. “My heart aches for the families most directly impacted and black Americans everywhere who are — appropriately — calling for justice, respect, and understanding.”

The coalition hosted a call on Tuesday with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss future legislative action to address racial injustice. Kilmer said the New Democrat Coalition would support comprehensive reform on the issue of racial injustice.

“New Dems will remain partners to our colleagues in the CBC and black leaders in condemning and working to end targeted police violence across the country,” said Kilmer. “Now is the time to listen to our fellow Americans’ lived experiences.”

Other Democratic leaders have also turned to the CBC — a group of African-American lawmakers that includes 53 House delegates  senators — to spearhead a push for police reform. 

“I’m so proud to work with the Congressional Black Caucus,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference on Tuesday. “Of course, it is the responsibility of all of us to take the time to heal. But we are looking to them for their values-based, sad experience and their leadership in terms of legislation,” she added.

Pelosi said the CBC would be “curating” the new measures on police reform, but hinted that there has been some debate over how to approach the matter. “Some of the members want to have a comprehensive bill, others more individual approach,” she said. “In a matter of just a short time, those decisions will be made and I think the American people will be well-served.”

CBC Chair Karen Bass, D-Calif., said on Tuesday that a package of bills on police reform could be hitting the House floor by the end of the month. “We want to build the broadest support possible across the country to ensure passage of transformative legislation,” Bass said in an interview with MSNBC. “What needs to happen is very clear — there needs to be a way to hold police officers and police departments accountable.”

Some of the proposals under consideration include a national ban on chokeholds, a review of 

police training norms, and changes to a federal law that protects police officers who break the law, also known as the “qualified immunity” doctrine.

Bass said on Monday that her caucus was glad to lead on the reforms, but she was quick to remind leaders that everyone should be involved in fixing systemic police violence against African-Americans.

“This is not a CBC issue this is an issue for all of us because all of us represent diverse populations,” said Bass on Monday. “We have to end this. The Democrats have to lead this, and we have to show people why we’re in the majority.”

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