Senate Democrats block GOP police reform bill

Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — As protests continue across the country, Senate Democrats blocked the Republican police reform bill Wednesday.

It was five votes shy of being considered.

“They just want it to die,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-LA, after the vote. “Now, why would you want something so important to die?”

Republicans, like Cassidy, left the Senate floor frustrated after Democrats voted against debating the GOP legislation. It includes incentives, federal reporting requirements and training to reduce the use of dangerous restraints, like chokeholds, and no-knock warrants. The bill also increases funding for body cameras.

“Now, they don’t want to take up the issue,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY. “They don’t want a debate. They don’t want amendments.”

McConnell said Democrats refused to negotiate, while Democrats argued the GOP plan does not go far enough to address police brutality and racial inequality. The Congressional Black Caucus called it “a completely watered-down fake reform bill.”

While a clear path forward in the Senate is unknown, the House will take up the Democrat proposal Thursday, which includes bans on chokeholds and no-knock warrants in drug cases, along with making it easier for citizens to sue police for misconduct.

Although the legislation is expected to pass, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-TN, is concerned about the process.

“It can’t be something that the parties go to their political corners and fight it out,” Fleischmann said. “It needs to be like civil rights was.”

Both parties’ proposals include some of the same provisions, such as making lynching a federal crime and creating a national database to track police misconduct, but it isn’t clear if that will be enough common ground.

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