Legislation On Police Reform Held Up By House Republicans

People walk down 16th street after “Defund The Police” was painted on the street near the White House
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House Republicans had indicated that a proposal for legislation on police reform would be available by the end of the week, but now sources say they’re holding off, The Hill reported on Wednesday. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who is the leading Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, has been working on a proposal and had previously stated that it would be complete by Friday, but a senior Republican aide is now saying that the proposal will likely not be ready until early next week. The senior aide also stressed that the timing could still change.

With protests against police brutality still happening nationwide, Congress is under immense pressure to enact legislation that addresses police reform. However, elected officials in both the House and the Senate are struggling to come up with solutions that will garner bipartisan support, according to The Washington Post.

On Monday, House Democrats released their proposed police reform legislation, dubbed the “Justice in Policing Act.” Their bill would ban chokeholds and “no-knock” warrants, policies that have both led to high-profile deaths of black Americans at the hands of police officers.

The legislation also addresses police accountability in several ways, including the use of body cameras and dashboard cameras by all police officers, and a requirement that police departments compile data about use of force and report that data to the federal government.

Additionally, the Democrats’ proposed legislation would limit the type of weapons police officers are allowed to access and carry.

Though some Democrats have said they expect Republican support for their bill, some top Republicans have already spoken out against it, per The Washington Post. The same day the legislation was unveiled, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney told reporters that Republican leadership had not been consulted about the bill and that he believed the Democrats were just trying to make a statement.

“The fact that it has no Republican sponsors, the fact that there was no effort to contact any us, to have us weigh in on the legislation, suggests it’s designed to be a bit of a message piece, as opposed to a real piece of legislation.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also spoke out against the bill, saying that the Democrats were trying to get rid of the police through defunding, The Washington Post reported.

The fact that Republicans in both the House and the Senate are working on their own police reform legislation is another indication of Republican opposition to the Democrats’ proposed bill, according to The Hill. As the House Judiciary Committee works on their proposed police reform legislation, Sen. Tim Scott — the only Black Republican in the Senate — has been working on yet another police reform bill.

One House aide told The Hill that House and Senate Republicans are working together to create a proposal for police reform legislation that they believe will garner bipartisan support. However, the aide stressed that it was unclear whether that legislation would be proposed as a “companion bill or a separate bill.”

House Republicans could write their own legislation or express their support for Sen. Scott’s legislation, but as of right now, it’s not clear how a Republican proposal on police reform will come to Congress.

Calls to defund police departments all over the country have come from the public and lawmakers alike in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor during incidents with police.