Tim Scott: ‘June or bust’ on police reform talks
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said Wednesday that if there’s a deal to be reached on police reform it will be reached next month.
“I think it’s June or bust,” Scott, the lead negotiator for Republicans, told reporters on Wednesday when asked about a timeline. “I think we have three weeks in June to get this done.”
Scott’s comments come after he declined to publicly embrace the May 25 unofficial deadline pushed for by President Biden and top Democrats who had hoped to be able to announce a deal by the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder.
Negotiators have been working behind the scenes for months, with those talks ramping up in recent weeks, as they’ve tried to lock down a long-sought agreement on reforming the country’s law enforcement after a spate of police-involved deaths.
Scott released a statement on Monday with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), the two lead Democratic negotiators, saying that they are making “progress” and “remain optimistic” while acknowledging that they were still working through “key differences.”
The group doesn’t appear to be on the cusp of a deal. Asked about the potential that something gets announced next week, when the Senate is out of town, Scott told reporters that they wouldn’t have to “worry about that.”
The group is still working through two of the biggest sticking points to a deal: qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that shields police officers from being sued, and changes to Section 242, the criminal standard for convicting law enforcement.
The House has already twice passed a sweeping bill named after Floyd, a Black man killed when a white police officer kneeled on his neck, that bans chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants at the federal level; overhauls qualified immunity; and creates a national police misconduct registry.
But the bill went nowhere in the GOP-controlled Senate last year, where Democrats blocked a narrower bill offered by Scott that did not overhaul qualified immunity.