Joe Biden’s ambitious social agenda suffers a new setback in the Senate. Democratic lawmakers announced on Wednesday the end of negotiations with Republicans to carry out structural police reform. Democratic Senator Cory Booker, one of the leaders of the discussion process, has acknowledged that they are at a standstill after months of bipartisan talks inspired by racial protests against police abuse following the death of African American George Floyd in May 2020. Thus One of the star projects of the Biden campaign, it seems doomed to failure due to a weak majority of Democrats in the House and Senate.
In his first speech to the United States Congress in late April, Biden asked lawmakers to pass the police reform by May 25, a year since Floyd’s murder by a white agent. There was applause and hope among their bases. When the anniversary of the death of the icon of the racial movement arrived, the president received his relatives at the White House. The House of Representatives had already passed the bill, christened George Floyd, but the senators were still negotiating. At the end of the meeting, Ben Camper, lawyer for the family of the deceased young man, said: “President Biden told us that he prefers a correct law to a fast law.” Since then, there has been no progress.
“After months of exhausting all possible paths to a bipartisan agreement, it remains out of reach at this time,” Booker said in a statement. Restrictions on the lethal use of force and the end of “qualified immunity”, which protects officers from civil liability in court, were some of the stopping stones. The announcement of the breakdown of the negotiations came after Democrats presented a minimum proposal that Republican Senator Tim Scott rejected. The draft included provisions to address the mental health of officers and the creation of a database of police misconduct, among others.
Senator Scott declared himself “deeply disappointed” by the Democrats who allowed their “misconception of the perfect to be the enemy of good and impactful legislation.” In order for Biden’s party senators to carry out the reform, they need, in addition to their 50 votes, the support of 10 Republican senators. “The time has come to explore all other options for meaningful and commonsense police reform,” Booker said, without specifying what these would be. The senator regretted the failure of the negotiations because they had obtained the support of several unions of security agents.
Biden said in a statement that he still hoped to “enact a comprehensive and meaningful police reform law that honors the name and memory of George Floyd.” The US president, who has seen how each of his structural reforms get stuck in Congress, announced that the White House will discuss with the civil rights and security communities, and the families of the victims, “a way forward, including through possible additional executive actions it may take to advance our efforts to meet the American ideal of equal justice before the law. “
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