Senate Democrats refuse to play McConnell’s game on policing bill, get back up from NAACP

Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat who co-wrote the Democratic legislation that’s in both the House and Senate, is striking a more conciliatory tone, but basically saying it’s over. “We’re having a lot of conversation,” Booker said. “I think there are a lot of things right now that show that the process we are headed towards is just not a good process. […] The House went through a process. They went through committee they did a lot of things. It was a normal, regular order process. This is not that. We’re having a lot of conversations about that now and we’ll see where it ends up.” Fellow Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut is more blunt. “There has been no outreach from McConnell.”

The Democrats’ legislation, while not nearly as systemic and far-reaching as advocates are calling for, actually does include restrictions and mandates on police forces to end practices like chokeholds and no-knock warrants. The Republicans’ bill gives more money to cops to incentivize them to reform, because that’s worked so well before, telling cops they can have more money if they’ll just play nice. It’s been clear from the outset that, while Scott might be trying to achieve something here, for McConnell it’s been an exercise in trying to screw over Democrats than saving Black lives, trying to score political points by putting the Democrats in the position of stopping “reform” legislation.

The opposition of the NAACP to this bill takes that away from McConnell. It makes it clear that the bill is useless and not worth Democratic votes, not unless they’re allowed to help shape it. Democrats don’t feel any need to play McConnell’s game. Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono summed it up perfectly: “I’m not going to vote on a half-ass bill.”

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