House GOP delays police reform bill

House Republicans are delaying legislation addressing police reforms after initially signaling that a GOP proposal would be introduced this week.

GOP sources confirmed that Ohio Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHouse panel pulls Powell into partisan battles over pandemic Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election House passes resolution condemning anti-Asian discrimination relating to coronavirus MORE, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, does not plan to roll out a police reform package by Friday, despite telling GOP colleagues that his package would be unveiled by the end of the week.

One senior GOP aide said a House GOP package could be unveiled as soon as next week, but the situation remains fluid. Rep. Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonReclaiming the American Dream LWCF modernization: Restoring the promise Mike Johnson to run for vice chairman of House GOP conference MORE (R-La.) said Republicans may want to wait and see if they can attach GOP amendments to a Democratic police reform package that will be marked up in his Judiciary panel next week.


“Because if we can improve [the Democrats’] bill and make some relatively minor modifications to it, we might be able to get everybody on the same piece of legislation,” Johnson, head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told reporters on Wednesday. “If not, of course, we will have to produce another bill of our own."

Separately, the White House said Trump could issue an executive order on police reform.

The delay comes as Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottAuthor Ryan Girdusky: RNC worked best when highlighting 'regular people' as opposed to 'standard Republicans' Now is the time to renew our focus on students and their futures GOP lobbyists pleasantly surprised by Republican convention MORE (R-S.C.), the sole black GOP senator, has unveiled a 10-point draft proposal on police reform legislation that provides more funding for police body cameras, requires police to report use-of-force incidents to the FBI and makes lynching a federal hate crime. Scott discussed his plan with top White House officials, including chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsWhite House chief of staff knocks FBI director over testimony on election fraud Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid Pelosi hopeful COVID-19 relief talks resume 'soon' MORE and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerAbraham Accords: New hope for peace in Middle East Tenants in Kushner building file lawsuit alleging dangerous living conditions Trump hosts Israel, UAE, Bahrain for historic signing MORE, on Tuesday evening.

“The ball’s in the Senate’s court. That’s where the momentum is,” said one senior GOP official. 

But it’s unclear if House Republicans would simply endorse the Scott proposal or write their own legislation. Johnson said he was in touch throughout the day with Scott.

“I think any talk about a companion bill or a separate bill is premature. Republicans in the Senate, House and White House are communicating and working together to pass a bipartisan bill that will become law,” said a House GOP aide familiar with the talks. “Ultimately, it’s too early. It remains to be seen what happens next, but expect a united front in the end.”


Republicans are facing enormous pressure to respond to the nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism following the Memorial Day killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by a white Minneapolis police officer. 

On Monday, House Democrats unveiled a sweeping police reform package, crafted by senior Congressional Black Caucus leaders, that features efforts to rein in racial profiling and police brutality, largely with new training requirements and tougher accountability measures for abusive officers.

And recent polling shows the American public now views law enforcement’s treatment of African Americans as unfair. A Washington Post-Schar School poll revealed that 69 percent of Americans said the Floyd killing represented a broader problem in police departments, while 29 percent said it was an isolated incident. 

Nearly 3 in 4 Americans said they’re supportive of the two weeks of protests that have erupted in small and large cities across the country after Floyd’s death.

Democrats sought to draw more attention to the issue Wednesday, holding a House Judiciary hearing on police brutality and racial profiling that featured emotional testimony from Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd

Republicans on the Judiciary panel joined Democrats in condemning Floyd’s killing. But Jordan and other GOP lawmakers on the committee used the hearing as an opportunity to draw a parallel between blacks who’ve suffered from police brutality and attacks on law enforcement officials.

Republicans called Angela Underwood Jacobs, the sister of a federal officer slain during protests in Oakland, Calif., to testify on the need for “lawful peaceful solutions that uplift and benefit everyone,” including upstanding law enforcement officials. 

“The murder of your brother in the custody of the Minneapolis police is a tragedy, it never should have happened. It's as wrong as wrong can be, and your brother's killers will face justice,” Jordan told Philonise Floyd in his opening remarks.

“Miss Underwood Jacobs, the murder of your brother by the riders in Oakland is a tragedy. It never should have happened,” Jordan added. “It's as wrong as wrong can be, and your brother’s killers will face justice.”

Progressive lawmakers and activist groups’ calls to cut funding to police departments in the wake of Floyd’s death has been met with strong pushback from Republicans and reluctance from a number of high-profile Democrats including Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen BassKaren Ruth BassOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds Democrats push to limit transfer of military-grade gear to police Outrage erupts over Breonna Taylor grand jury ruling MORE (D-Calif.), who helped lead the efforts for the Democrats' police reform proposal. 

While the Democratic reform package is expected to receive little to no support from GOP lawmakers, several Republicans have expressed an openness to certain provisions in the plan. 

Texas Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHillicon Valley: Oracle confirms deal with TikTok to be 'trusted technology provider' | QAnon spreads across globe, shadowing COVID-19 | VA hit by data breach impacting 46,000 veterans House approves bill to secure internet-connected federal devices against cyber threats House Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts MORE, the only black House Republican, who took part in peaceful protests after Floyd’s death, told his colleagues there are elements of the Democratic bill he supports during a call with members on Tuesday evening, according to a source on the call. 


“Will and I agree that there are aspects of Democrats' bill that makes sense," one GOP lawmaker told The Hill, citing a ban on chokeholds as one of the aspects of the proposal they could see Republicans getting behind. 

The lawmaker said they believe if they are going to see any success in passing reforms, parties will likely have to come together on a measure that can pass both chambers. 

"I think to be effective, to be assertive, we need to do a bipartisan bill," the source said. "It's not the time for some messaging bill and I believe we can do something serious if we move beyond stuff that's not going to win the day in the Senate."

Mike Lillis contributed.