The House of Representatives greenlit George Floyd’s Police Justice Act late Wednesday night in a vote of 220-212.
The vote was initially scheduled for Thursday, but was pushed forward due to a possible threat to the Capitol related to QAnon’s conspiracy theory.
Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar introduces a bill to sanction the Saudi crown prince for the murder of Khashoggi. Progressives pressure the White House to overturn the salary ruling. Mehdi Hasan Hosts MSNBC’s Sunday Show in Primetime MORE (D), representing the Minnesota district where George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police last May, served as Spokesperson pro tempore during the debate on the legislation.
The broad police reform bill received no Republican votes. Initially, Rep. Lance GoodenLance GoodenHouse Republicans Asking For Information On Threats Keeping The National Guard In DC LEA: Republicans Who Voted To Challenge Election Results Here Are Republicans Who Plan To Challenge Electoral College Results MORE (R-Texas) had voted in favor of the bill, but then tweeted I had pressed the wrong button. Two Democrats, Representatives Jared Golden (Maine) and Kind rumRonald (Ron) James Kind Six Ways to Visualize a Divided US House of Representatives Republican Campaign Arm Releases Midterm Target List Five Center Democrats Oppose Pelosi for President in Tight Vote MORE (Wis.), Voted against the measure.
The bill faces a tough road in the Senate, where Republican lawmakers already criticize it for being too partisan.
Still, Rep. Joyce beattyJoyce Birdson BeattyBlack Caucus Members Pressure Biden to Appoint Shalanda Young to OMB Head Harris Holds First Meeting in Ceremonial Office with CBC On The Money Members: Senate Panels Postpone Tanden Meetings on Sign negative | Biden signs supply chain order after ‘positive’ meeting with lawmakers MORE (D-Ohio), president of the Congressional Black Caucus, said she and other group leaders have had “great conversations” with the Senator. Tim scottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTrump endorses Tim Scott for re-election this week: Senate accepts coronavirus relief after minimum wage setback Global lobbying MORE (RS.C.) on finding a middle ground in hopes of pushing the bill through the Senate 50-50 and President BidenJoe Biden Chief of the Intercept Office: Minimum wage was not a ‘high priority’ for Biden in COVID-19 relief South Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative method of execution Obama’s student, Seth Harris, to serve as employment advisor to Biden: report MOREdesk. Scott, the only black Republican senator, has his own police reform proposal and has been open to elements of the Democratic version.
“[It’s] different from last time, where we are in the country, “said Beatty, referring to changing cultural attitudes around law enforcement.” I think it has given people more of a feeling: this could be the right thing at the right time. “
Beatty declined to say whether House Democrats are prepared to accept a shortened version of the bill, but he’s not ruling out anything either.
“I am not yet at the point of taking [anything] “, He said.” We like the bill as it is. “
Senate Republicans had been reluctant, in particular, to the provision that removed certain legal protections that are currently afforded to law enforcement in many states and districts. Known as qualified immunity, those protections are necessary, Republicans argue, to protect law enforcement from rampant litigation.
Rep. Karen bassKaren Ruth BassSunday Shows Progress: 2,024 Applicants Meet at CPAC; House Approves Coronavirus Relief; Vaccination Effort Continues Black Caucus Members Press Biden to Appoint Shalanda Young to OMB Chief George Floyd Police Reform Bill Re-introduced in House of Representatives MORE (D-Calif.), The bill’s original sponsor, said it intends to counter those criticisms by examining localities where similar reforms have already been enacted.
“The states have adopted all kinds of reforms,” Bass said. “And the sky has not fallen.”
The proposal certainly has a better chance of garnering bipartisan support than another big piece on the House Democratic agenda, HR 1, a wide-ranging package that overhauls the campaign finance system and restores certain voting rights.
As currently read, the Police Reform Bill would reform national policing standards at various levels.
Racial profiling would be prohibited at all levels of law enforcement; strangulation braces, carotid braces, and arrest warrants against beatings would be banned at the federal level; Qualified immunity for officers will be reviewed and a national police misconduct registry will be created so that officers who were fired for such discretion cannot be hired by another police department.
While the bill would not technically require a ban on certain reforms, such as bottlenecks at the state and local levels, it would link the new federal standards as thresholds that police departments must meet if they want to continue receiving federal aid.
The legislation was initially presented to the House last summer after George Floyd, a black man, was killed by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd’s death, as well as the police murder of Breonna Taylor, sparked a summer dominated by national Black Lives Matter protests demanding substantive police reform and the eradication of systemic racism.
In addition to the Bass bill in the House, Scott and Sen. Rand paulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Confirms Rouse as Biden’s Chief Economist Overnight Healthcare: 50 Million Coronavirus Vaccines Administered | Pfizer News | Rand Paul, Biden Health Nominees, Criticized for Questioning MORE Transgender Health Nominee (R-Ky.) He presented his own police reform proposals in the Senate, underscoring the bipartisan nature of the issue.
Scott’s bill, the JUSTICE Act, covers many of the same areas of concern addressed by the Democrats’ bill, such as the ban on stranglers. Paul’s Breonna Taylor Justice Act was intended to outlaw arrest warrants, the technique that led to Taylor’s death, something that George Floyd’s Police Justice Act would prohibit.
Still, the road to negotiating a bill that would pass the evenly divided Senate could be arduous.
Scott, in a statement Tuesday, said he was willing to discuss the proposal to cut qualifying immunity for officers, a controversial point in politics, but called the House version of the bill “partisan.”
“I hope my friends from across the aisle will come to the table to find common ground where we can make meaningful changes that move us closer to the goal of a more just country,” Scott said.
Mike Lillis contributed.
Updated 10:08 pm