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Tim Scott rejected the idea of taking up the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

BY JULIA MUELLER 02/02/23 12:09 PM ET

Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the lead GOP negotiator for police reform in the Senate, on Thursday rejected the idea of taking up the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which was passed by the House in the last Congress.

“Resurrecting the House progressives’ police reform bill is a nonstarter. I’ve been working toward common ground solutions that actually have a shot at passing. Solutions to increase funding and training to make sure only the best wear the badge. Solutions that would have made a difference in places like Memphis & Kenosha,” Scott said in a Twitter thread.

The then-Democratic-controlled House had passed its police reform bill after the police killing of Floyd in Minnesota sparked mass protests nationwide, but bipartisan talks on reform died in the Senate. 

Scott had signaled a readiness to return to the issue in the wake of the brutal killing of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols last month by police in Memphis, Tenn. 

The incident has spurred Democrats in Congress to re-up reform talks: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on Sunday that Scott should sit down again with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) — after the pair spent months working on the matter during the last Congress.

The Nichols family’s attorney, meanwhile, has voiced strong support for Democrats’ legislation.

“Shame on us if we don’t use his tragic death to finally get the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed,” Ben Crump, who also leads the Floyd family legal team, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We told President Biden that when he talked to us.”

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Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, has dismissed suggestions that Republican lawmakers are holding up police reform progress, insisting that Democrats are to blame.

The South Carolina senator said he believes Congress can “get something meaningful done” and pass a bill that the majority of Congress would agree on, but underscored he doesn’t think the House Democrats’ proposal could pass muster. 

“The question we have to ask ourselves is, do we care more about tribalism, posturing, and preserving the status quo? Or do we care about actually doing our jobs and restoring faith in our nation? Put me down for the latter,” Scott said.

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