McConnell sets initial police reform vote for Wednesday
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is setting up a key test vote for a GOP police reform bill.
McConnell on Monday moved to end debate on whether to proceed to the Republican legislation, a step that will have the Senate take the first procedural vote Wednesday.
McConnell will need 60 votes, including the support of at least seven Democrats, to overcome the hurdle. On Monday he urged Democrats to allow the bill to advance.
“We read this: Senate Democrats are agonizing over what to do about Senate Republicans’ police reform bill. What is there to agonize over?” McConnell asked.
“It seems to me that proceeding to consider Senator Scott’s legislation, proceeding to take up the subject on the Senate floor would only be an agonizing prospect if members were more interested in making a point rather than in actually making a law,” he added.
The GOP bill would try to incentivize police departments to ban chokeholds and includes new reporting on the use of force by police and the use of no-knock warrants. It also includes new penalties for not using body cameras, has new requirements on law enforcement records retention and would include a separate bill that makes lynching a federal hate crime.
But Democrats have warned that it does not go far enough to change the nation’s law enforcement system after the death of George Floyd, who was killed after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Unlike a Democratic bill it does not ban no-knock warrants for drug cases and it does not change qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that shields police officers from civil lawsuits.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday called the GOP bill “piecemeal and half hearted.”
“The longer you look at the Republican policing reform effort, the more obvious the shortcoming and deficiencies,” he added.