House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took a major ego hit when Donald Trump issued his police reform executive order on Tuesday.
Then, Senate Republicans rolled out legislative reform on Wednesday, further infuriating Pelosi. She decided to make it clear right off the bat that she will not work with Republicans to effect legislative change, saying on Wednesday that “the Senate’s so-called Justice Act is not action.”
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the Senate’s only black lawmaker, led the formulation of the Senate’s “Justice Act.” Among legislative actions proposed by the bill are provisions that discourage and disincentivize chokeholds, increase data collection on use of police force, make lynching a federal crime, and funding for education programs on the history of racism.
Notably, the Senate proposal specifically authorizes a social study that Pelosi herself has long championed, which would look beyond police brutality to factors such as education, health care, financial status and crime that contribute to the social status of black men and boys.
That’s just not good enough for Pelosi, who clearly believes that she must be the one that spearheads any legislative change in the way that policing is done in the US.
She issued a statement on Wednesday condemning Scott’s efforts, saying that “the Senate proposal of studies and reporting without transparency and accountability is inadequate. The Senate’s so-called Justice Act is not action.”
In contrast, Democrats’ George Floyd Justice in Policing Act contains real, structural legal reforms to end court-created barriers to accountability, provisions for independent investigations of misconduct, increased pattern and practice investigative authority, and a transparent national registry of police misconduct that is accessible to the public.
“During this moment of national anguish, we must insist on bold change to save lives,” Pelosi said. One might have thought that sweeping bipartisan police reform would qualify as “bold change,” but if the GOP is for it, Pelosi can always be counted on to come out against it.
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