McConnell signals he will not negotiate police reform with Dems before bringing up bill

TheHill reports Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated on Tuesday that he will not negotiate with Democrats before he brings a forthcoming GOP police reform proposal to the floor, saying Democrats will have to decide whether or not to block a bill from Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

Asked if he expected a negotiation between Democrats and Republicans on police reform, McConnell said Democrats would need to decide if they will help provide support to get the GOP police reform bill over an initial 60-vote hurdle and then try to make changes.

“When we turn to it, I’ll file cloture on the motion to proceed to get to the bill and at that point the Democrats, I think, have to make a decision, do they want to prevent this bill from going to the floor or do they want to get on it and try to change it?” McConnell said.

“But what I envision here is an effort to make a law and I’m fully aware that it takes 60 votes to get something out of the Senate, so it will really be up to them to decide how they want to handle this,” McConnell added.

The decision Democrats have, according to McConnell, is either to “shoot … down” the GOP proposal from Scott or “take the risk to go to the bill and see what changes, if any, we can all agree to in order to get to 60.”

Scott will unveil the GOP proposal on Wednesday, roughly a week after McConnell announced that he had tapped the South Carolina senator, and only black Republican in the Senate, to lead negotiations within the caucus on coming up with a police reform bill.

When, specifically, McConnell will bring up the GOP police reform proposal, which will be introduced on Wednesday, remains unclear. But he’s expected to announce by Wednesday if the Senate will turn to it or a defense bill after they wrap a lands package and two judicial nominations.

“By in the morning I’ll announce where we’re going next. There are two paths that could be taken: One we could go to the NDAA, the other we could go to the Tim Scott police bill, which is close to being finished,” McConnell told reporters.

Scott’s proposal is expected to get wide bipartisan support within the conference.

Scott told reporters on Monday night that it would restrict funds to state and local law enforcement departments that don’t have a ban on the use of chokeholds, which has been in the spotlight in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who was killed when a white police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.