House Democrats are looking to push a big police reform bill until next year, where a new Congress will take up the issue.
Spurred by the tragic death of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25, lawmakers of both parties vocalized support for wanting to reform the current policing practices. Reform ideas included slashing the funding for police departments, calls for additional training or accountability measures, reducing lethal force options, or increasing the protocols until an officer can use lethal force.
The Hill reports Democrats quickly picked up the issue as anti-police riots sprung up in major cities across the country, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
Republicans, too, had an effort spearheaded by Senator Tim Scott, who is black.
But, the two parties cannot seem to agree on a solution, so, rather than passing a compromised bill, House Democrats are putting off the issue.
“Rather than coming up with a piece of the police reform act … we should really push this over until after the election and move something that is much more powerful,” said Democrat Congressman Bobby Rush via the Hill.
“We don’t want to make a mockery of this moment,” he added. “We don’t want to see something passed into law that is weak, watered down and whitewashed.”
Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee similarly said she did not want the Republican-majority in the Senate to determine the policies in the bill.
“We’re steadfast in not allowing the Senate to dissect the bill,” she said according to the Hill. “It may be that we go into 2021, but I’m not prepared that say that that’s our strategy.”
These sentiments were echoed by Washington D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, who argued the parties were running out of time.
“There is not enough time to fix it this year,” she said. “There’s an understanding well beyond me that you don’t need to get everything done this year in the midst of a pandemic when you’re not getting very much done anyway.”
House Republicans have expressed support for Scott’s bill or have at least expressed an interest in debating it. Democrats, the majority party in the House and who control its agenda, however, are not bringing it to a vote.
According to The Hill, both sides are taking a political gamble by waiting until next year:
Both sides, by digging in, have taken a political gamble. Republicans risk a backlash at the polls in November for resisting popular reform legislation. Democrats risk the loss of momentum if the nation’s attention has turned to other issues by 2021, Democratic president or none.
Yet Democrats rejected the idea that the public push for police reform would wane. And with polls showing former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump in key battleground states, many are predicting they’ll have better luck waiting to return to police reform next year.