WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed their police reform bill, sending it off to the Senate.
But with no Republican support and with Democrats having blocked the GOP’s plan in the Senate Wednesday, the matter has hit gridlock.
Dubbed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the Democrats’ plan has support from the nation’s top civil rights groups. Supporters say it will bring systematic change by giving victims of police abuse more power to sue, mandating racial bias training and banning tactics like no-knock warrants and chokeholds.
“It would outlaw what happened to George Floyd. The Senate bill suggests that (police) shouldn’t do that any longer,” Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., said.
Republicans from both chambers almost unanimously oppose the Democrats’ bill, saying Democrats are unwilling to compromise and are playing election-year politics.
“They don’t care anything about the Black community,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said. “Republicans can never get credit for a bill dealing with race issues.”
He said he was “very pessimistic” about the process moving forward.
“Until they decide that they actually want to have a discussion, there’s no place to go,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said.
“I think we have to keep the dialogue going. This bill is that important,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said.
She said there is common ground to focus on.
“Somewhere between 70% and 80% of what we were proposing was in the Democrats’ version,” Ernst said.
But so far, Democrats aren’t budging.
“If the most significant aspects of it are compromised of the 30% that’s not in it … that’s the problem,” Kildee said.
Lawmakers on both sides say they want to strike a deal and many are calling on leadership to come to the table.
“This is case where the public is unified,” Kildee said.
“History will judge this moment,” Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., added.