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George Floyd bill misses anniversary deadline, but U.S. lawmakers say prospects are good

PoliticsMay 26, 2021 12:35AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Jerlano Bell of North Carolina holds up a George Floyd sign at the "One Year, What's Changed?" rally hosted by the George Floyd Memorial Foundation to commemorate the first anniversary of his death, outside the Hennepin County Government Cent

By Susan Cornwell and Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers negotiating a police reform bill say they are optimistic about the prospects for a bipartisan deal, despite missing a deadline set by President Joe Biden of the one anniversary on Tuesday of the killing of George Floyd.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have in many ways become even more divided in the year since Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed in Minneapolis by a white officer kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes.

Democrat Biden's plans to spend trillions on public works, funded by taxes on the wealthy and companies, have been dismissed by Republicans, and his COVID-19 relief package did not win a single Republican vote.

Democrats, who have named their bill after Floyd, suggested that won't happen with police reform.

"We will get this bill on President Biden's desk," said Representative Karen Bass of California, a Democrat leading House negotiations, at an event with Floyd's family members in Washington. "We will work until we get the job done. It will be passed in a bipartisan manner."

Democrats are seeking to restrict the use of chokeholds by police while making it easier to hold officers liable in court.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, a lead Republican negotiator, said on Tuesday the main point of contention between the parties is qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that shields individual police officers from lawsuits in certain circumstances.

Still, he said, lawmakers are making progress.

"We have a long way to go still, but it's starting to take form," Scott told reporters.

Leaving out the ability to penalize cops in the courts has been strongly encouraged by police unions, but would be a blow to law enforcement reform activists. People briefed on the process said that there was sufficient agreement on so many other reforms that there should be scope for a compromise.

Last week, Biden signed a bill that won rare bipartisan support to fight against hate crimes following a spate of attacks on Asian Americans in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

At the White House on Tuesday, Biden met privately with Floyd's family to discuss the bill named after him.

"We just want this George Floyd Policing Act to be passed," Floyd's brother, Philonise, told reporters afterward. If the United States can pass federal laws to protect bald eagles, "you can make federal laws to protect people of color," he said.

George Floyd bill misses anniversary deadline, but U.S. lawmakers say prospects are good
 

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Comments (6)
Ominous Owl
Ominous Owl May 26, 2021 1:03AM ET
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Wow. This cuckery has jumped over from Europeans & Canadians to America. The founding fathers of America must be crying in their coffins.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller May 25, 2021 9:57PM ET
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“Democrat Biden's plans to spend trillions on public works...”. The term public works refers to hard assets (look it up), not social spending! Who writes this stuff??!!
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy May 25, 2021 9:45PM ET
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Nothing you can do with this part of population.
Nick Johnson
Nick Johnson May 25, 2021 8:24PM ET
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George Floyd was a career criminal who committed suicide by drug overdose.
james marshall
james marshall May 25, 2021 6:08PM ET
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The left will stop at nothing to keep us black suppressed through continous fear of racism. Music, Sports, Movies, Politics, and etc. We achieved it all. Floyd was a criminal and just leverage to keep us down with fear of systemic racisim...lol
danny Levine
danny Levine May 25, 2021 4:58PM ET
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tired
 
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