Republicans Respond to Democrats Blocking Debate on the JUSTICE Act

June 25, 2020 Updated: June 25, 2020

Republicans expressed disappointment at Democrats for blocking the police reform legislation introduced by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). The GOP senators criticized the opposing party for voting no on the motion to proceed in order to keep the issue alive for the 2020 election.

GOP senators weighed in on the action the Democrats took to effectively cancel a debate or any possible negotiations on the Scott bill.

“Democrats say they disagree with parts of @SenatorTimScott’s bill. Fine. The Senate has a way to settle policy differences. It’s called legislating. The only reason to duck the whole process is if Democrats would rather preserve a campaign issue than find a partisan solution,” said Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Republicans also warned of the message blocking the bill sends to citizens who want to see real change, and the danger communities are in until this issue is addressed.

“Disappointed to see @SenateDems block even consideration of the JUSTICE Act. Instead of debating and negotiating the Dems decided to block any bill proposed by Republicans. The safety of our communities needs to be a top priority,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).

“We are in dangerous times; the source of this danger is not the failure of this bill on this floor at this time. Nope. This is merely a symptom of the danger that I believe is right in front of us, this is only a symptom of a much deeper issue a systemic problem,” said Sen. Tim Scott.

“This is a broken process. Beyond that one piece of legislation. It’s one of the reasons why communities of color, young Americans of all colors are losing faith in the institutions of authority and power in this nation, because we’re playing small ball,” added Scott.

Sen. Scott emphasized that his legislation aims to build a better relationship between law enforcement and the affected communities, instead of choosing to listen to one group over the other. Many on the left and the Democrat party have advocated for defunding and dismantling police departments. Police union leaders have also expressed that they feel abandoned by lawmakers.

“Today, we lost, I lost a vote on a piece of legislation that would have led to systemic change in the relationship between the communities of color, and the law enforcement community,” Scott said.

“We would have broken this concept in this nation that somehow someway, you have to either be for law enforcement, or for communities of color. That is a false binary choice. It’s just not true.” Adding, “And my friends on the other side, just said no, not no to the legislation. They just said no. And why am I saying that they didn’t just say no to the legislation.”

Scott said Democrats did not want to engage with the process even when they were offered the chance to amend the JUSTICE Act.

“We offered them opportunities, at least 20 I offered, and their answer to me was: ‘you can’t offer us 20 amendments.’ I said ‘why not,’ they said: ‘well because Mitch McConnell won’t give you 20 amendments.’ I spoke to Mitch McConnell, he says you can have 20 amendments. I told him that, we went to a press conference yesterday and we set an open process. They didn’t want an open process,” added Scott.

“Democratic efforts to shut down the conversation are a betrayal of the moment that presented itself to this nation to move forward. Tim has worked his heart out to try to move the process along. I’m very disappointed that it was shut down before it started by Senator Schumer,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said their party opposed the JUSTICE Act because it was woefully inadequate and that 136 civil rights organization sent them a letter opposing the bill.

“This bill woefully falls short of the comprehensive reform needed to address the current policing crisis and achieve meaningful law enforcement accountability. It is deeply problematic to meet this moment with a menial incremental approach that offers more funding to police and few policies to effectively address the constant loss of black lives at the hands of police,” the letter stated.

Schumer said the signatories urged the Democrat senators to vote no on the motion to proceed.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday accused the Republicans of “trying to get away with murder” of George Floyd, with their police reform legislation.

“When Speaker Pelosi says, one of the most heinous things I can imagine that the Republicans are actually trying to cover up murder the murder of George Floyd, with our legislation,” said Scott.

“She knows that she can say that, because the Democrats have a monopoly on the black vote,” he continued.

In the 2016 presidential election, black men and women overwhelming voted, over 80 percent, for the Democrat candidate, Hilary Clinton.

“Instead of going forward and getting what you want now they’ve decided to punt this ball until the election, you know why because they believe that the polls reflect a 15-point deficit on our side. Therefore, they can get the bill they want in November,” he continued.

“The fact that Senate Democrats voted to block debate and an open amendment process on meaningful police reforms is outrageous and unacceptable,” said Rob Portman (R-Ohio).