Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina called out Democrats on Wednesday for putting politics over their constituents by blocking a vote on a GOP-offered police reform bill following the death of George Floyd.
All Republican senators, along with two Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Doug Jones of Alabama — voted to consider the legislation.
In an impassioned speech from the Senate floor after the vote, Scott argued the problem for Democrats was not really what was in the legislation but that it was a Republican bill.
“The actual problem is not what is being offered. It is who is offering it,” he said.
“The problem is not what is being offered, it’s who is offering it.” https://t.co/MLnpjwgAMo
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) June 24, 2020
“Today, we lost — I lost — a vote on a piece of legislation that would have led to systemic change in the relationship between the communities of color and the law enforcement community,” Scott said.
The senator argued that when matching side-by-side the reforms that both Republicans and Democrats are calling for, there is a great deal of consensus.
Whether the issue is the use of chokeholds, the duty of other police officers to intervene when they witness bad conduct by one of their own, or the creation of a database on police who have engaged in misconduct, all of which them were included in the GOP legislation, he said.
Scott further highlighted that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to allow an open process in the vote on the bill so that Democrats could offer up to 20 amendments to the legislation.
He noted that Speaker Nancy Pelosi provided no such opportunity to Republicans in the House, only having a straight up-or-down vote on the Democrat bill in its entirety.
Scott charged what the Democrats are really trying to do is hold on to police reform as an election issue.
“Why wouldn’t you take the 80 percent now and see if you can win the election and add on the other 20 percent? You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said.
“Because the who matters,” the senator said. “They cannot allow this party to be seen as a party that reaches out to all communities in this nation.”
Scott contended if the Democrats really cared about their minority constituents, they’d be willing to do the real work to pass a reform bill.
“But what I missed in this issue is that the stereotyping of Republicans is just as toxic and poison to the outcomes of the most vulnerable communities in this nation,” he said.
The senator noted that most of the cities that have seen problems with police practices have been run by Democrats for decades and could have implemented their own reforms long ago.
“I blame an elite political class with billions of dollars to do whatever they want to do and look at the results for the poorest, most vulnerable people in our nation,” Scott concluded, turning to his Democrat colleagues. “I’m willing to compete for their votes, are you?”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asserted on Wednesday that Democrats can be better trusted to handle the issue of police reform.
“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?” he said.
I want to ask Americans:
Who is a better guardian of civil rights when it comes to police reform—Civil Rights Leaders or Senator McConnell?
Because 138 civil rights leaders urged the Senate to vote NO on the Senate GOP bill
And that’s exactly what we did
We need REAL reform pic.twitter.com/ZH9yGDs2Od
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 24, 2020
Schumer called the bill a “ruse” and charged that, by design, nothing would get done through its passage.
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