Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked the advancement of Republican legislation to reform policing in the United States, saying it doesn’t go far enough.
The chamber voted 55-45 in a procedural vote to open debate on the legislation. It needed 60 votes to advance.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer described the Republican bill as “irrevocably flawed” and likely couldn’t be fixed in debate.
“I want to ask the American people, I want to ask Republican senators, who is a better guardian of the civil rights of African Americans when it comes to police reform, the NAACP or [Senate Republican leader] Mitch McConnell?” the senator from New York said.
“So don’t get on your sanctimonious horse, leader McConnell. You have none of the civil rights community behind you.”
Senate Republicans unveiled their proposal earlier this month as an alternative to one by House Democrats. The legislation came amid weeks of anti-racism and police brutality protests in response to the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The Democratic legislation fully bans chokeholds and no-knock warrants, while the Republican bill makes some exceptions for both. The Democratic proposal also weakens “qualified immunity,” which protects police from lawsuits.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., a sponsor of the Republican legislation, said that by blocking the bill Wednesday, Democrats will force Americans “to wait even longer for overdue police reform.”
“We’ll move on. People will forget about it. And you know what’s going to happen? Something bad. And we’ll be right back here talking about what should have been done … We could do something right now.”
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