Senate Democrats Block Policing Reform

‘After Demanding The Senate Take Up Police Reform This Month,’ Senate Democrats Rejected All Offers For Amendments And Blocked Action On The JUSTICE Act, ‘Stalling Efforts To Change Law Enforcement Practices’


“Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked Republicans from taking up a bill to overhaul policing, calling the legislation flawed and a nonstarter. A motion to open debate on the measure, which needed 60 votes, failed 55-45.” (“Senate Democrats Block GOP Policing Bill, Calling It 'Irrevocably Flawed' And 'Partisan,'” NBC News, 6/24/2020)

THE WASHINGTON POST: “Senate Democrats block GOP policing bill, stalling efforts to change law enforcement practices” (“Senate Democrats Block GOP Policing Bill, Stalling Efforts To Change Law Enforcement Practices,” The Washington Post, 6/24/2020)

LOS ANGELES TIMES: “Democrats block Senate GOP police reform bill” (“Democrats Block Senate GOP Police Reform Bill,” Los Angeles Times, 6/24/2020)

POLITICO: “Senate Democrats block Republican police reform plan” (“Senate Democrats Block Republican Police Reform Plan,” Politico, 6/24/2020)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “Senate Democrats Block GOP Policing Bill” (“Senate Democrats Block GOP Policing Bill,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/24/2020)

CNN: “Senate Democrats block GOP police reform bill, throwing overhaul effort into flux” (“Senate Democrats Block GOP Police Reform Bill, Throwing Overhaul Effort Into Flux,” CNN, 6/24/2020)

USA TODAY: “Senate Democrats block movement on Republican policing bill in Wednesday vote” (“Senate Democrats Block Movement On Republican Policing Bill In Wednesday Vote,” USA Today, 6/24/2020)

THE HILL: “Democrats block GOP police reform bill amid Senate stalemate” (“Democrats Block GOP Police Reform Bill Amid Senate Stalemate,” The Hill, 6/24/2020)

THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Senate Democrats Block G.O.P. Police Bill, Calling It ‘Inadequate’” (“Senate Democrats Block G.O.P. Police Bill, Calling It ‘Inadequate,’” The New York Times, 6/24/2020)

ROLL CALL: “Senate GOP policing bill stalls as Democrats block it on floor, attention swerves to House” (“Senate GOP Policing Bill Stalls As Democrats Block It On Floor, Attention Swerves To House,” Roll Call, 6/24/2020)

BLOOMBERG NEWS: “Democrats Block Senate Republicans’ Police Overhaul Bill” (“Democrats Block Senate Republicans’ Police Overhaul Bill,” Bloomberg News, 6/24/2020)

CBS NEWS: “GOP police reform bill stalls in Senate as Democrats vote to block debate” (“GOP Police Reform Bill Stalls In Senate As Democrats Vote To Block Debate,” CBS News, 6/24/2020)


Senate Democrats Rejected Every Reasonable Offer For Multiple Opportunities To Amend And Debate The JUSTICE Act To Reach A Bipartisan Outcome

“Republicans repeatedly noted that Democrats could try to amend the bill on the Senate floor, and GOP senators privately offered amendment votes meant to address several criticisms of the bill that Schumer, and Sens. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) laid out in a letter to McConnell on Tuesday. The Democrats turned down that offer, according to two GOP officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss procedural deliberations, and also rejected a subsequent offer of more amendment votes.” (“Senate Democrats Block GOP Policing Bill, Stalling Efforts To Change Law Enforcement Practices,” The Washington Post, 6/24/2020)         

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), JUSTICE Act Sponsor: “And my friends on the other side just said no. Not no to the legislation. They just said no. And why am I saying that they didn't just say no to the legislation? It’s because along the way I sat down with many of them and said, ‘What do you need?’ And Senator Schumer sent a letter telling, I believe it was Senator McConnell, there are five things in the legislation that needed to be improved. I said, ‘Let’s give them the five amendments.’ I sat down with more senators and they said, ‘Wait, wait, wait. There’s not just five. There’s 20.’ I said, ‘How about 20 amendments?’ And they walked out. You see, this process is not broken because of the legislation. This is a broken process beyond that one piece of legislation. … We offered them opportunities, at least twenty I offered, to change it. … I spoke to Mitch McConnell. He said you can have 20 amendments. I told them that. We went to a press conference yesterday and we said an open process. They didn’t want an open process.” (Sen. Tim Scott, Floor Remarks, 6/24/2020)

  • SEN. SCOTT: “I even said something that I didn’t think I would say. I said ‘What about a manager’s amendment? Let’s just fix everything in one fell swoop.’ They said no thank you. So I find it disingenuous that people say ‘Why don’t you sit down with one member and work it out?’ Well, if a manager’s amendment won’t do it, if the five amendments that they wrote in the letter saying that they need to have these things fixed won’t do it, if 20 amendments won’t do it, you have an open process on the floor of the United States Senate that requires us 60 votes to get off of the bill, then what, pray tell, is the problem? Well, I finally realized what the problem is, Mr. President. The actual problem is not what is being offered. It is who is offering it. Took me a long time to figure out the most obvious thing in the room. It’s not the what. ... I realized finally it’s the who that’s offering this.” (Sen. Tim Scott, Floor Remarks, 6/24/2020)


SEN. SCOTT: ‘I Hope That The American People See How The Democrats Blocked Solutions From Coming To Their Communities For The Sake Of Partisan Politics’

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), JUSTICE Act Sponsor: “I am amazed that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle refused to vote for legislation that would provide real life solutions for the American people. If my colleagues had issues with the legislation, they should have accepted that we were willing to give them multiple amendment votes so that we can make the necessary adjustments to get this across the president’s desk. The JUSTICE Act is a first step in the right direction, and it has the power to help to ensure that the list of names of those who died at the hands of law enforcement officers does not grow longer. I hope that the American people see how the Democrats blocked solutions from coming to their communities for the sake of partisan politics.” (Sen. Scott, Press Release, 6/24/2020)

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “After demanding the Senate take up police reform this month, Senate Democrats reversed their demands overnight. Today, they rejected an open process with amendment votes and refused to let the Senate even consider the subject unless they got to rewrite Senator Scott’s bill behind closed doors. The amendment process and the 60-vote threshold give Senate minorities considerable leverage to ensure final bills are bipartisan, but both sides have to actually want an outcome. Today, Democrats showed they do not, so communities across America will be denied the reforms they deserve.” (Sen. Scott, Press Release, 6/24/2020)


JUSTICE Act Task Force Members: ‘Equal Justice Should Not Be A Partisan Issue,’ ‘Senate Democrats Demanded A Police Reform Bill Before July 4th, And Today They’ve Inexplicably Blocked The Very Debate They Asked For,’ ‘Today’s Move By The Democrats Is Another Example That They Are Prioritizing Campaign Politics’

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman: “I am bitterly disappointed by the fact that Senate Democrats will not even allow debate on police reform. House Democrats are jamming a bill through the House without any Republican input. Republicans in the House have been shut out and Senate Democrats are now refusing to even try and find common ground with Republicans on police reform. It is clear to me it is an unpardonable sin for Democrats to work with Republicans to try to solve a problem that may benefit Donald Trump.” (Sen. Scott, Press Release, 6/24/2020)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “Senate Democrats demanded a police reform bill before July 4th, and today they’ve inexplicably blocked the very debate they asked for. The JUSTICE Act includes an overwhelming number of bipartisan provisions within the bill, but they refused to take ‘yes’ for an answer and stopped the Senate from acting at all. Let the record show that when the Senate had the opportunity to pass reforms that would provide justice to George Floyd’s family, and others, Senate Democrats shamelessly stood in the way.” (Sen. Scott, Press Release, 6/24/2020)

SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NE): “DC politicians sadly usually care more about scoring partisan points than actually fixing things. The JUSTICE Act isn’t perfect, but it’s a darn good effort to take legislative priorities — from both parties — and do something to fix policing issues America’s had for a long time. Moderate Democrats signaled support, but that wasn’t good enough for the far Left, who won’t even let us start debate. Senator Tim Scott has thoughtfully led on this issue, crafting legislation that is worthy of a full debate before the Senate — we should do that work.” (Sen. Scott, Press Release, 6/24/2020)

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): “It’s unfortunate Senate Democrats have allowed partisan politics to get in the way of justice. Equal justice should not be a partisan issue. The JUSTICE Act has more similarities with the House Democrat bill than differences. Blocking the Senate from even debating the JUSTICE Act and demanding that the Senate only take up Speaker Pelosi’s police reform bill, that has not even been voted on yet in the House. Today we missed an opportunity to increase funding for body-worn cameras, ban chokeholds, and provide greater accountability and transparency for local law enforcement. The American people deserve better. I wish that Senator Schumer would allow the Senate to debate and amend the JUSTICE Act, rather than prevent debate and delay justice again for partisan reasons.” (Sen. Scott, Press Release, 6/24/2020)

SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-WV): “This is a sad day in our nation’s history. America is crying out for a solution, which we attempted to begin today. I am extremely disappointed in my Democratic colleagues. What we experienced today was pure partisanship. Eight out of the 11 solutions in the JUSTICE Act overlap with priorities in the House bill. Given the amount of overlap between our two bills in the House and the Senate, beginning the amendment process is the best way to move toward a bill that can become law. Had we advanced this bill, bipartisan negotiations would have continued and further improvements to the bill would have been debated and made. Blocking this legislation gets us absolutely nowhere. Today’s move by my Democratic colleagues to block a procedural motion that would allow us to consider such legislation is further evidence that they would rather make a point than a law. It is further proof that they would rather our nation continue to feel pain and anger instead of attempting to bring forward change and reform. Today’s move by the Democrats is another example that they are prioritizing campaign politics over the American people. Today is a sad day, but I’m hopeful my colleagues will come to their senses, put politics aside, and do what the American people asked them to do.” (Sen. Scott, Press Release, 6/24/2020)



Related Issues: Law Enforcement, Senate Democrats