Republican Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) called out Senate Democrats on Wednesday, exposing their hypocrisy on the Senate filibuster.
Scott’s public condemnation came after President Joe Biden signed an executive order on police reform and used the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death to mark the occasion.
The order, among other things, establishes a national registry of police officer misconduct, bans the use of choke holds by federal law enforcement agencies, limits the use of no-knock warrants by federal law enforcement agencies, and mandates that all federal officers wear activated body cameras.
What did Scott say?
The South Carolina Republican noted in a statement that Democrats used the Senate filibuster to block his police reform bill in 2020, despite the legislation containing many of the same provisions in Biden’s executive order.
“After the radical ‘defund the police’ movement helped create the current crime wave, President Biden is pursuing a partisan approach to many of the exact same policy solutions I proposed in the JUSTICE Act just two year ago,” Scott began.
“The fact is Democrats used a filibuster they call racist to block my reforms that they’re now embracing,” he added.
In fact, the JUSTICE Act would have required local police agencies to share databases of disciplinary records, incentivized agencies to ban the use of choke holds, incentivized the use of activated body cameras and penalized non-compliance, and required the Justice Department to develop new training standards on “alternatives to use of force, de-escalation tactics, and techniques for responding to a behavioral health crisis,” among other things.
Additionally, Scott chastised Biden for creating new roadblocks to safe and effective policing, which ultimately manifest as “divisive politics.”
“While my proposal added funding to help local law enforcement comply with higher standards, the Democrats’ proposal sets departments up for failure by issuing unfunded federal mandates,” Scott said. “Making it harder for police to do their jobs to the best of their ability should be a nonstarter, yet that’s exactly what the Biden plan does.
“I’m disappointed that the president who campaigned on unity has once again fallen into the trap of divisive politics,” he added.
Why did Democrats filibuster?
Senate Democrats blocked Scott’s bill, which had bipartisan support, because they did not believe it went far enough to address problems with law enforcement practices.
In contrast with Scott’s bill that focused on incentivizing police reform, Democrats drew up their own bill that used government mandates to achieve the same results. Ultimately, neither bill became law.