House Democrats blocked discussion of a police reform bill sponsored by Congressman Pete Stauber (R-MN-08). Democratic leaders argued that the more important issue at hand is the “postal crisis.”
Stauber criticized the focus of their session.
“It is embarrassing that while we could be working on vaccine funding, saving small businesses, and justice reform the Speaker will gavel us out and Americans will be wondering ‘where are our leaders?'”
The Democratic majority also voted against any discussion of two bills concerning coronavirus vaccine development and paycheck security. The votes were 230 to 171.
“Americans have lost their jobs, small businesses have had to close, cities have been destroyed and main streets have suffered,” said Stauber in a press release. “The American people need leadership. I believe both parties should be able to unite on these critical needs, that we can end the gridlock and come together amid these hard times. I urge Congress to get back to work to address these important issues.”
Representative Rob Woodall (R-GA-01) stated in the debate that the postal service bill was merely a show for Democratic leadership and a grievous distraction from the true issues plaguing Americans.
“This is another wasteful partisan exercise,” said Woodall. “The truth of the matter is, this is just another punctuation mark at the end of the Democratic National Convention Week.”
This is the second time that Stauber’s bill came before the House.
The original form of the bill, “JUSTICE Act,” was first introduced on June 18. Democratic leadership also blocked this bill. No Democrats sponsored the JUSTICE Act – all 162 cosponsors were Republican.
Stauber’s original police reform legislation was all-encompassing. It required reporting for use of force and no-knock warrants and established a federal commission to address black male-related social issues. The legislation also restricted federal aid to those who fail to implement chokehold bans, body cams, and disciplinary records of officers. Lynching would become punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Additionally, the bill implemented more training on alternative uses of force, de-escalation, behavioral health crises, and officers’ duty to intervene when misconduct occurs. It proposed a comprehensive review of the costs, practices, and policies of the criminal justice system at all levels.
A draft of the new bill provided by Breitbart – now titled “To provide funding to law enforcement agencies, and for other purposes” – contains much less. This version only includes provisions for body cams, alternative uses of force, de-escalation, handling behavioral health crises, and officers’ duty to intervene.
During her speaking time on the floor, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did not address the concerns brought up by Republican leadership.
The Senate is scheduled to meet for a pro forma session this Friday.
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