Senate Reaches Impasse on Police Bill, Opening Door to Bipartisan Negotiations

June 24, 2020 by Dan McCue
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., accompanied by Republican senators speaks at a news conference to announce a Republican police reform bill on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

WASHINGTON – A policing reform bill proposed by the Senate’s lone Black Republican failed to garner enough votes to pass on Wednesday after Senate Democrats said its proposed reforms didn’t go far enough in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of law enforcement.

The vote was 55-45, failing to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to advance.

Two Democrats, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, along with Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, voted with Republicans to open the debate.

But minutes before the vote was taken, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he was praying for the bill’s failure, “so we can start on the path of bipartisanship.”

That call seems to have been heard by Sen. Tim Scott, the South Carolina Republican who authored the bill.

“If you don’t think we’re right, make it better, don’t walk away,” Scott said.

The bill Scott crafted, known as the Justice Act, would create a national database of police use-of-force incidents, restrict police chokeholds and set up new training procedures and commissions to study race and law enforcement.

The package is not as sweeping as the one the House plans to vote on Thursday. Among other things, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would hold police liable to damages in lawsuits.

Law enforcement and business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have urged both parties to find common ground.

Neither bill goes as far as some activists want with calls to defund the police and shift resources to other community services.

After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lambasted the Democrats, accusing them of engaging in “political nonsense.”

But in a noteworthy move, before the vote ended, McConnell changed his vote to no, a procedural move that will allow him to bring it back for reconsideration.

He also vowed to try again, saying he hopes to pass legislation before a July 4 recess.

Americans “deserve better than a partisan stalemate,” McConnell said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also indicated she is eager to enter talks with the Senate, yet another sign party leaders in both chambers believe a compromise bill is possible.

Congress

Hoyer, Durbin Aides Named to Biden Legislative Affairs Team
Political News
Hoyer, Durbin Aides Named to Biden Legislative Affairs Team
November 23, 2020
by Dan McCue

WILMINGTON, Del. - President-elect Joe Biden has selected top aides to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin to serve in key roles on his White House legislative affairs team. Shuwanza Goff, who has been serving as Majority Leader Hoyer's floor director... Read More

The Christmas Season Has Officially Arrived on Capitol Hill
In The News
The Christmas Season Has Officially Arrived on Capitol Hill
November 23, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Bathed in chill sunlight and standing just yards from where work crews continue to build the platform for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, the Capitol Christmas tree was already a destination in its own right Monday as a handful ofl families gravitated to... Read More

Defense Analysts Caution Against U.S. Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan
Geopolitics
Defense Analysts Caution Against U.S. Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan
November 20, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Defense analysts warned Congress Friday against the U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan announced this week amid indications that radical Islamists could resume terrorist attacks. They said further proof is needed that Taliban fighters would not try to seize control of Afghanistan before the Trump... Read More

Running to Lead the New Dems, DelBene Reflects on the Coalition’s Past, Promising Future
Congress
Running to Lead the New Dems, DelBene Reflects on the Coalition’s Past, Promising Future
November 20, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - During a week when newly elected members of Congress were all over Capitol Hill for their formal orientation, Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., remembered how vastly different her experience was in 2012. Jay Inslee, the previous representative of Washington State's 1st Congressional District, had decided... Read More

Looking Ahead to Biden Era, Officials Eye Investments in Rail Infrastructure
Congress
Looking Ahead to Biden Era, Officials Eye Investments in Rail Infrastructure
November 20, 2020
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Material conducted a hearing Wednesday exploring the Surface Transportation Board’s part in developments to the country’s passenger rail system.  During the hearing, executive officials from Metra, Amtrak and the STB gave expert testimony... Read More

Front-Line Workers in Capitol Keep Getting COVID-19
Health
Front-Line Workers in Capitol Keep Getting COVID-19

WASHINGTON — Front-line workers on Capitol Hill are continuing to contract COVID-19. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, 153 legislative branch employees have tested positive or are presumed positive for COVID-19, according to a Democratic aide for the House Administration Committee. This cumulative total, as of Nov. 18, includes 59... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top