Democrats pushed sweeping new police guidelines through the US House on Thursday amid a polarizing debate after the high-profile murder of African-American George Floyd sparked nationwide protests and calls for change.
The measure, which prohibits suffocation and warrants, restricts the officer’s immunity, fights racial profiling and establishes a database to track erroneous behavior, which is largely passed along party lines.
It creates a showdown in the Senate where Republican leadership has no intention of passing it.
Applause was enough when the bill was passed with 236 votes to 181, with three Republicans joining the House Democrats in support.
President Donald Trump opposes the House measure and said on Tuesday that Democrats aimed to “weaken our police” and end the officer’s immunity.
Instead, he supports a narrower, Senate Republican proposal. That measure was blocked by Democrats on Tuesday and there were no signs of new negotiations.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her chamber’s bill is named after George Floyd, whose last words “I can’t breathe” before his death in the hands of Minneapolis police “changed the course of history in our nation.”
The legislation “will fundamentally change the culture of police administration to save systemic racism, limit brutality and save lives, as it puts a stop to protecting the police from responsibility,” Pelosi said.
“We do not paint all police officers with the same brush, but for those who have to be painted with that brush, we must take the measures included in this bill.”
Pelosi and other Democrats have rejected the Senate measure because it mimics the words of the reform without requiring any specific measure.
Instead of direct mandates, the Republican proposal would stimulate change by denying federal grants to police departments that do not end suffocation decisions or warrants.
Republicans say their bill would be a good starting point for negotiations. The Democrats claim it falls well short, and Pelosi said it would be “a moral failure to accept any Lessthan transformational change.”