SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Chances look slim for Congress to overhaul policing laws any time soon

As the country is reeling from the death of George Floyd...

Posted: Jun 3, 2020 12:37 PM

As the country is reeling from the death of George Floyd, lawmakers in Washington are skeptical they are on a path to make sweeping or even small changes to policing this summer.

At least not without a significant political shift.

While multiple lawmakers -- Republicans and Democrats -- have legislation to crack down on racial profiling and excessive use of force, there is no sign President Donald Trump wants reforms now. And, a pandemic and the pressure to pass another stimulus package are all likely to come before legislation on policing would ever make it to the President's desk.

While the Congressional Black Caucus is working hard in the House to find agreement on policing standards, in the Senate, there are still broad disagreements over the role Congress should even play in the debate.

"This is sort of classic Washington. You have one isolated and tragic event and people extrapolate that and suggest this problem is an epidemic. And I think as terrible as what happened to Mr. Floyd was and as much as he and his family deserve justice, you cannot paint with such a broad brush and condemn law enforcement and say this is a systemic failure," said Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas. "This idea that all of a sudden Congress needs to put the public health crisis on hold, which by the way it won't stay on hold ... to deal with this is just, I think, hysteria."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced Tuesday his committee would hold a hearing on June 16 on the issue of police brutality, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged Tuesday that Congress would "take a look" at what could be done.

"We'll be talking to our colleagues about what, if anything, is appropriate for us to do in the wake of what's going on," said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.

But GOP leadership and rank-and-file members argue now isn't the time for major reforms to policing in the US. In fact, many argue it's not Congress's job at all.

"I don't think you can come up with a national, enforceable response on conduct or practice nor do I think you can come up with a national manual that really makes sense for departments," Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, told CNN.

Blunt has argued instead for administrative fixes. He told reporters Tuesday that he is going to talk to Attorney General William Barr about bringing back more rigorous practice reviews of police departments that could be used to crackdown on police forces where there is a pattern of misconduct.

He pushed to "get back where one of your available options is an enforceable review of your practices and your procedures," Blunt said, adding that he sent a letter to the attorney general.

In recent days, some Republicans have begun engaging with colleagues across the aisle to see what might be possible. But, any compromise may take months, not days to forge. Sen. Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, told CNN that he's had multiple conversations over the last week and that he strongly disagrees with the idea that Congress shouldn't be playing a role.

"Law enforcement is a local issue without question, but we legislate from Washington all the time on a number of issues," Scott told CNN. "The question is can you do it in a way that preserves the final decision in the local hands as often as possible. I think the answer is yes."

Democrats, meanwhile, have unveiled a series of proposals in recent days. In the House, the Congressional Black Caucus is leading the way on developing a legislative response with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer promising that the House could return sooner than June 30 to pass a bill if its ready.

"This is a matter of great urgency, and we expect to act as soon as possible," Hoyer said.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a Massachusetts Democrat, has a nonbinding resolution that calls on the House to admonish all police brutality and excessive use of force.

In the Senate, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, unveiled a framework for changes to policing that would create a national database for policing misconduct, would require training for officers and ban racial and religious profiling. Booker's framework also included a plan to tie federal dollars to pledges by states and localities to ban certain police activities like choke holds.

Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth tried to pass similar legislation Tuesday on the Senate floor, which was aimed at preventing police-involved deaths and spurring independent investigations into police use of deadly force.

It was blocked by Graham, but he left the door open to working together on a bipartisan proposal.

"I think we probably can get there if we talk," adding, "hopefully we can get it as part of a broader agenda," Graham said.

Duckworth told CNN the fact that Graham sounded open to potentially including the legislation in a broader package was "encouraging." She added, "I'm willing to work with anyone if we can get something moving."

But, the overall picture of passing police reform at a time when a pandemic is still raging and an election looms remains a huge reach. Without full-throated and unwavering support from President Donald Trump, who continues to use divisive language to describe protestors on Twitter, a bill is all but impossible.

"I am not sure the United States Senate knows more about proper law enforcement procedure than law enforcement," Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, told CNN. "Having said that, I am going to look at anything."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 11454

Reported Deaths: 232
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah273072
Marion177053
Washington176420
Umatilla9377
Clackamas92527
Union3682
Lincoln3625
Malheur2861
Lane2813
Deschutes2370
Yamhill1799
Jackson1730
Linn17210
Polk17112
Jefferson1600
Klamath1311
Morrow1311
Wasco1061
Benton1056
Hood River1030
Douglas580
Clatsop550
Josephine551
Coos520
Columbia470
Lake240
Crook181
Tillamook160
Wallowa130
Baker90
Curry90
Sherman30
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 310885

Reported Deaths: 6955
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1274393744
Riverside24765537
Orange22650412
San Diego18863420
San Bernardino18275304
Imperial7759132
Fresno762787
Alameda7485147
San Joaquin627968
Kern619597
Santa Clara5863166
Tulare5678152
Sacramento515279
Contra Costa446088
Stanislaus436450
San Francisco431650
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3846112
Marin336430
Kings285539
Monterey241918
Solano207528
Merced179312
Sonoma156114
Placer102111
San Luis Obispo9054
Madera8578
Yolo83928
Santa Cruz5373
Napa4774
Butte3384
Sutter3374
San Benito3112
El Dorado3070
Lassen2610
Shasta1766
Humboldt1654
Glenn1640
Nevada1631
Yuba1633
Lake1081
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Tehama981
Calaveras670
Tuolumne640
Del Norte600
Mono491
Siskiyou410
Amador360
Inyo341
Mariposa311
Plumas170
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 73°
Brookings
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 54°
Crater Lake
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 71°
Grants Pass
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 72°
Klamath Falls
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 71°
Hot & windy Saturday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events