GOP Senators To Look At Police Reform Bill, Though Some Will Likely Oppose It

( Following far-reaching police reform legislation introduced by Congressional Democrats this week, Senate Republicans are working on a similar bill of their own.

On Tuesday, Tim Scott, the lone black Republican in the Senate, revealed behind closed doors ideas for how he would reform police. Some of those ideas include programs to aid state and local police departments with implementing intervention and bias training, as well as created a national database that would chronicle police misuse of force.

As North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer said:

“Reforms seem to be in order. You asked if this is a moment and I’d say it is. A crisis creates an image and an opportunity that is ripe for discussion. It seems like now is exactly the time to have a discussion about it.”

Scott also met with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, on Tuesday to discuss his ideas. Meadows labeled the meeting a “good conversation,” while saying it’s still a work in progress.

Republicans in Senate have created a task force made up of five people that will lead the efforts to craft specific police reform legislation. Scott will be part of that group, along with Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), Ben Sasse (Nebraska), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia) and John Cornyn (Texas).

The GOP hopes to have something crafted shortly to share with the public. As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said:

“What we’ve been talking about here in the Senate Republican conference is what we think is the appropriate response to the events of the last few weeks, and under the leadership and guidance of Senator Tim Scott, at some point in the near future, we’ll have recommendations to be made.”

Republicans have been traditionally opposed to wide-sweeping police reform at the federal level, but recent events and the protests that followed have at least convinced them to discuss it. But any proposal that Republican Senators bring to the table might face opposition within the party, let alone from House Democrats.

As Florida Senator Marco Rubio said:

“It’s my view that the best reforms need to happen at the local level. That is where the community can help drive them as opposed to just one national standard across the board. If there is something we can do here that makes sense, I will certainly look at it. I also think we make a big mistake if we think this entire issue is just a police issue. This is about a whole lot more than just police issues.”

Even South Dakota Senator John Thune, the majority whip, said:

“The federal government doesn’t run a police department. The local mayor, city council and police chiefs do.

“To my knowledge, most of the police departments have a ban on some of those practices like chokeholds already, but I’m for looking at that. But I want to look more broadly, not just at the tactics.”