Biden Vows Executive Action After Republicans Kill Dem Police Reform Bill

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
Font Size:

President Joe Biden vowed to take executive action to enact police reform “in the coming weeks,” after Republicans on Capitol Hill killed a Democratic police reform bill Wednesday.

Biden released a statement Wednesday acknowledging that there is no longer a path forward for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which had already passed through the House. Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Democratic California Rep. Karen Bass introduced the legislation earlier this year, but failed to garner enough Republican support in the Senate. (RELATED: Biden Walks Away As Reporter Shouts ‘Why Do You Continue To Trust The Taliban?’)

“The murder of George Floyd is a stain on the soul of America. It spurred the nation to collectively demand justice, and we will be remembered for how we responded to the call,” Biden’s Wednesday statement began. “Regrettably, Senate Republicans rejected enacting modest reforms, which even the previous president had supported, while refusing to take action on key issues that many in law enforcement were willing to address.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 16: Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) talks to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) during a Judiciary Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on June 16, 2020 in Washington, D.C. The Republican-led committee was holding its first hearing on policing since the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. (Photo by Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

Biden said he still hopes to sign a piece of police reform legislation, but said the moment “demands action.”

“The White House will continue to consult with the civil rights and law enforcement communities, as well as victims’ families to define a path forward, including through potential further executive actions I can take to advance our efforts to live up to the American ideal of equal justice under law,” he said.

Biden hosted the families of George Floyd and Eric Garner at the White House in April as his opening push for police reform.

While Biden has called for reforms, he has also criticized the radical wing of his party that called for abolishing or defunding the police in the wake of Floyd’s death last year. Leaked audio of a phone call with reform activists in December revealed him blaming Democratic losses in Congress partly on the anti-police rhetoric.

“That’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country, saying that we’re talking about defunding the police. We’re not. We’re talking about holding them accountable,” Biden said, according to the audio.

Some members of Biden’s party have made that messaging difficult, however. Democratic Missouri Rep. Cori Bush stated on the steps of the Capitol in August that “defunding the police has to happen,” and that she would pay for private security.