Politics

‘June Or Bust’ — Tim Scott Said Police Reform Deal Will Have To Come Next Month

Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
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Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said Wednesday that police reform legislation will have to be agreed upon in June if the two parties are going to get it done.

“I think it’s June or bust,” Scott said after he was asked about a timeline for the legislation. “I think we have three weeks in June to get this done.” Scott is leading the negotiation efforts for Republicans on crafting a police reform bill and met with George Floyd’s family Tuesday on Capitol Hill, on the one-year anniversary of the killing of Floyd.

Scott has been working with Democratic California Rep. Karen Bass and Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. The group released a statement saying they were “optimistic” but still working out “key differences,” The Hill reported.

(L-R) Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) speak briefly to reporters as they exit the office of Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) following a meeting about police reform legislation on Capitol Hill May 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Before the November elections, when the GOP still had a majority in the Senate, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Scott to lead the party’s effort to pass a police overhaul bill. The South Carolina senator had ruled out including a revision to qualified immunity — a key measure supported by Democrats. (RELATED: Tim Scott, Other Republican Senators Officially Introduce Police Reform Bill)

In late June of 2020, Senate Democrats blocked the Republican police reform bill on a procedural vote without debating the legislation. (RELATED: Sen. Tim Scott Lays Out What He Expects In GOP Police Reform Legislation)

The vote needed 60 votes in order for it to move forward to a debate. The vote was 55-45. McConnell filed cloture on the Republican police reform legislation, setting up the vote. (RELATED: Senate Democrats Block Republican Police Reform Legislation)

Republicans needed seven or more Democrats to vote with them in order for the legislation to advance. Senate Republicans released their police reform legislation the previous week in response to the killing of Floyd and the ongoing protests.

“The only group left in Washington D.C. that are reportedly agonizing over whether to block a discussion of police reform or let it proceed seem to be our Senate Democratic colleagues,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday. “I hope that whatever strange political calculations are making this difficult for our friends across the aisle will yield to common sense and to the American people’s hunger for progress. We will find out when we vote later this week.”

The House has passed police reform legislation named after Floyd, but the legislation has not picked up GOP support in the Senate.