McConnell schedules GOP police reform bill for vote next week

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that he will try to bring up the GOP police reform proposal next week, setting the stage for an initial test vote.

“After we do two circuit judges that are queued up … we’re going to turn the Scott bill. I’m going to file cloture on the motion to proceed, and our Democratic friends if they want to make a law, and not just make a point, I hope they’ll join us in getting on the bill,” McConnell said.

The decision will set up an initial procedural vote on the GOP police reform bill next week, where Republicans will need to get 60 votes to overcome the hurdle and start a debate on the legislation. 

McConnell indicated on Tuesday that he would not negotiate with Democrats before the initial vote, putting the onus on them to decide if they will block the GOP bill or try to amend it on the floor. 

He added on Wednesday that Republicans were “serious about making a law here.” 

“I hope they’ll join us in getting on the bill and trying to move forward. … This is not about partisan differences,” McConnell said. 

To get over the procedural hurdle, McConnell will need support from at least seven Democratic or independent senators. Asked on Tuesday if they would provide the votes to let the GOP bill advance, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) declined to comment before he saw the bill. 

Republicans unveiled their police reform proposal, which was spearheaded by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), on Wednesday. The bill would incentivize state and local police departments to ban chokeholds by eliminating federal law enforcement grants if there is not a chokehold ban in place. 

In addition to trying to incentivize police departments to ban chokeholds, the GOP bill also includes new reporting on the use of force by police and the use of no-knock warrants. That’s a split from the Democratic proposal, which would ban the use of no-knock warrants in drug cases.  

The bill also includes new penalties for not using body cameras, has new requirements on law enforcement records retention and would include a separate bill that makes lynching a federal hate crime. 

–This report was updated at 10:54 a.m.

Tags Chuck Schumer GOP Law enforcement legislation Mitch McConnell police reform Senate Tim Scott

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