This week: Democrats introduce sweeping police reform package
© Bonnie Cash/Greg Nash

Democrats are set to unveil a wide-ranging law enforcement reform bill as they look to build momentum for passing legislation in response to George Floyd’s death. 

House and Senate Democrats, including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Breaking down the June jobs report | The biggest threats facing the recovery | What will the next stimulus bill include? Military bases should not be renamed, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation Pelosi: Trump 'himself is a hoax' MORE (D-Calif.), Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen BassKaren Ruth BassBlack Caucus unveils next steps to combat racism Susan Rice 'humbled and honored' by rumors Biden considering her for VP The Hill's Morning Report - Officials crack down as COVID-19 cases soar MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPublic awareness campaigns will protect the public during COVID-19 Republicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday MORE (D-N.Y.), will introduce legislation on Monday. 

The bill is expected to, among other provisions, ban police chokeholds, make lynching a federal crime and end so-called qualified immunity, which shields officers from liability for certain acts performed in the line of duty. 

“We'll be releasing a bill tomorrow for things that should've been done in this country a long time ago — banning certain police practices, creating deeper accountability,” Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenators push foreign media to disclose if they are registered as foreign agents Joe Biden must release the results of his cognitive tests — voters need to know GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday MORE (D-N.J.), who will be at the unveiling, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 


The Democratic bill will come on the heels of massive protests over the weekend against police brutality and urging reforms in the wake of Floyd’s death late last month. Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest. 

Democrats want to pass police reform legislation in a matter of weeks, with House leadership expected to bring a bill up for a vote on the floor by the end of the month. The House isn’t expected to return to Washington for votes until June 30, though House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse to vote on removing bust of Supreme Court justice who wrote Dred Scott ruling Black Caucus unveils next steps to combat racism Democrats expect Russian bounties to be addressed in defense bill MORE (D-Md.) previously left the door open to bringing members back earlier with 72 hours notice. 

Schumer is publicly calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPublic awareness campaigns will protect the public during COVID-19 Democrats: A moment in history, use it wisely 'Comrade' Trump gets 'endorsement' from Putin in new mock ad by Lincoln Project MORE (R-Ky.) to put a police reform bill on the floor before the chamber leaves for a two-week July 4 recess. 

“What matters is that we respond to the national wave of unrest with action. I am repeating my call to Leader McConnell. Leader McConnell: commit to putting law enforcement reform legislation on the floor before July 4. A divided nation cannot wait for healing, for solutions,” Schumer said on the floor last week. 

Congressional Republicans haven’t yet committed to supporting new police reforms, with some suggesting the effort would be political. It’s also unclear what, if anything, President TrumpDonald John Trump Trump responds to calls to tear down monuments with creation of 'National Garden' of statues Trump: Children are taught in school to 'hate their own country' Trump accuses those tearing down statues of wanting to 'overthrow the American Revolution' MORE would support after running in 2016 as tough on crime and months ahead of the November election.

“There may be a role for Congress to play in this as well, and we'll be talking to our colleagues about what, if anything, is appropriate for us to do in the wake of what's going on,” McConnell told reporters last week. 


The House Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a hearing this week on policing practices and law enforcement, with the Senate Judiciary Committee expected to hold a similar hearing next week. 

“We’ll do two panels and see where it takes us,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse | Trump administration awards tech group contract to build 'virtual' wall | Advocacy groups urge Congress to ban facial recognition technologies Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse The Hill's Campaign Report: The political heavyweights in Tuesday's primary fights MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters. 

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneRepublicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names McConnell: Trump shouldn't veto defense bill over renaming Confederate bases Senate Republicans defend Trump's response on Russian bounties MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said that “we had some, some discussions. We have some members who have some ideas.” 

Lands bill

McConnell has teed up the Senate to take up the Great American Outdoors Act, which permanently funds the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). 

The Senate will vote on ending debate on whether to proceed to the bill on Monday evening, where it will need 60 votes to overcome the initial procedural hurdle. 

The bill would give $900 million annually to fund the LWCF, which uses oil and gas revenue to fund conservation programs like securing land for national parks. The legislation would separately address a maintenance backlog at national parks. 

McConnell agreed to bring up the bill as part of a deal with Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks Hickenlooper beats back progressive challenge in Colorado primary MORE (R-Colo.), who faces a tough reelection bid. Gardner threatened, but ultimately backed down from, blocking the Senate from leaving for a weeklong Memorial Day recess. 

GOP probe

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on a broad subpoena as part of Graham’s investigation into “Crossfire Hurricane,” the FBI’s investigation into Russia's election interference and the Trump campaign, and the subsequent Mueller investigation. 

Graham announced last month that he would force a vote on the ability to subpoena dozens of officials, including former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBolton book sells 780,000 copies in first week, set to surpass 1M copies printed The Seila Law case: Liberty and political firing A new age of lies? MORE and former national security adviser Susan Rice. 

The committee had been expected to vote last week but Graham abruptly announced they would wait a week to give members of the committee more time to debate the subpoena, as the hearing pushed up against a pre-scheduled Senate vote. 

"We're going to do what this committee needs to do, and we're going to fight it out and we're going to vote. And we're not going to be done today, so I don't see a resolution this day, if you need to go somewhere go. ... I think the best thing for us to do is [to] carry this over to next week so we can have a full discussion," he said.

He added that "we'll get to [a] conclusion next week" on the subpoena vote.

Graham told The Hill after last week’s meeting that he had the votes to issue his subpoena. Because Republicans control a majority on the panel, he’ll be able to get authority to issue more than 50 subpoenas as long as every Republican on the committee supports him.