Lawmakers on Wednesday said bipartisan negotiations on a police reform bill have broken down after months of talks.
The talks wrapped up as Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., called head Republican negotiator Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. to say the sides could not reach an agreement, NBC News reported.
“After months of exhausting every possible pathway to a bipartisan deal, it remains out of reach right now, even after working collaboratively with and securing the support of policing groups like the Fraternal Order of Police and International Association of Chiefs of Police for our proposals,” Booker said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, even with this law enforcement support and further compromises we offered, there was still too wide a gulf with our negotiating partners and we faced significant obstacles to securing a bipartisan deal.”
Scott issued his own statement saying he was “deeply disappointed” in the breakdown in negotiations, adding that he believed Democrats had “squandered a crucial opportunity” to implement police reform.
“I offered to introduce a bill that included our areas of compromise — a bill that activists and law enforcement alike could have supported,” Scott said. “Despite having plenty of agreement, Democrats said no because they could not let go of their push to defund our law enforcement.”
The House in March passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, which included provisions to federally ban police from using chokeholds, end racial and religious profiling, eliminate qualified immunity for officers, and mandate data collection of police encounters, but it failed to gain traction in the Senate.
President Biden released a statement after reports that the talks failed were made public expressing disappointment and saying he would be open to issuing executive actions.
“I am deeply grateful to Senator Cory Booker and Congresswoman Karen Bass for working tirelessly with the White House, the civil rights community, and leading law enforcement groups, and for their relentless efforts to negotiate a bipartisan bill in the Senate that is worthy of George Floyd’s legacy. Regrettably, Senate Republicans rejected enacting modest reforms, which even the previous president had supported, while refusing to take action on key issues that many in law enforcement were willing to address,” the President stated.
“The White House will continue to consult with civil rights and law enforcement communities, as well as victims’ families to define a path forward, including through potential further executive actions I can take to advance our efforts to live up to the American ideal of equal justice under law,” said Biden.
“The White House will continue to consult with the civil rights and law enforcement communities, as well as victims’ families to define a path forward, including through potential further executive actions I can take to advance our efforts to live up to the American ideal of equal justice under law.”