Senate Democrats filibustered a police reform bill introduced by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) on Wednesday, blocking an effort at bipartisan reforms in the wake of nationwide unrest over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
Scott has worked on police reform for years — long before America had heard of George Floyd. He convinced the rest of the Republican caucus in the Senate to support the cause of police reform — all to no avail, as Democrats prevented his bill from achieving the 60 votes necessary to close debate and move to a vote under the legislative filibuster rule.
Separately, Democrats are working on their own police reform bill, which will pass the House later this month, likely on a party-line vote. The House does not have a filibuster rule, and bills can be voted on and passed on a simple majority.
When the House and Senate pass different versions of the same bill, they form a conference committee to iron out their differences and introduce a compromise bill in both chambers. That could have happened in this case. But Democrats did not want Scott’s bill to pass. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) even accused Scott and the Republicans on Tuesday of “trying to get away with murder,” referring to George Floyd. She refused to apologize on Wednesday.
Democrats want Republicans to have to vote on their bill, or prevent it from coming to a vote. The likely strategy is to tell voters that the Republican Senate is blocking police reform — when, in fact, the Democrat minority is doing so.
Scott issued a message on Twitter, pointing out that he had offered Democrats the opportunity to offer amendments:
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) June 24, 2020
“It’s kind of like November … comes before July,” Scott said, saying Democrats blocked the bill for political reasons.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.