US Congress hits partisan stalemate on police reform

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress found themselves in a partisan stalemate on police reform legislation on Tuesday to respond to public outrage over the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers order, blamed for the death of George Floyd and other blacks.

Democrats urged Senate majority chief Mitch McConnell not to hold key procedural vote on Republican bill Wednesday that critics say doesn’t go far enough to tackle racial disparities and misconduct in American police practices.

Instead, they called on McConnell to consider stronger reforms contained in a radical democratic bill that the House of Representatives is expected to consider on Thursday, warning that Republican legislation would not receive enough support to move forward in the Senate.

“The Republican bill was launched to give a lip service to a problem, with nothing substantial that could actually save … lives,” said Senator Kamala Harris, a black lawmaker who helped draft the bill. of democratic law. .

But McConnell warned of a “partisan stalemate” if the Democrats refused to proceed to a debate on the Republican bill on Wednesday.

“Tomorrow we will see if our fellow Democrats share our ambition or if they choose to get around the problem and leave the country in embarrassment,” said McConnell before Harris and other Democrats spoke.

Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis, when a white officer knelt on the neck for nearly nine minutes, sparked weeks of worldwide protests and generated strong public sentiment for the arrest of excessive force by the police, especially against African Americans.

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Last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to guide police reforms here. Legislation is needed to implement permanent comprehensive reforms.

But almost a month after Floyd’s death, the Republican-led Senate and the Democrat-led House passed separate partisan bills that did not have enough support to gain approval from both houses and be promulgated by Trump.

While Democrats reject Republican bill because it is based on incentives to encourage reform, Republicans warn that law and policy changes prescribed by Democratic law could have a deterrent effect on law enforcement .

Source: Reuters

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