June 12 (UPI) — House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday there could be room for a bipartisan agreement on police reform after Democrats released a plan earlier this week.
McCarthy said Republicans in the chamber agree with concepts included in the package unveiled by the Congressional Black Caucus and would be willing to compromise with Democrats despite launching their own bill.
“I think there’s a place where we can work together,” McCarthy said. “There’s a lot of concepts that we agree upon.”
Following two weeks of mass protests in response to the police-involved killing of George Floyd, House Democrats on Monday introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020.
The legislation includes reforms such as reducing the federal standard for prosecuting police for misconduct, revising the “qualified immunity” law that shields officers from civil suits, creating a national misconduct database, limiting the transfer of military-grade weapons and barring “no-knock” warrants in drug cases.
McCarthy said he supports a ban on police chokeholds proposed by Democrats and did not explicitly name any provisions of the Democratic bill he opposes.
He went on, however, to accuse House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “politicizing” the effort at police reform by keeping Republicans out of the planning process.
The House Republican bill will focus on police training, holding officers who are engaged in misconduct accountable and increasing the amount of law enforcement data that is publicly available.
Republicans in the Senate, led by Sen. Tim Scott, have also begun drafting legislation that will call for reforms, including the creation of an FBI system based on mandatory reporting of uses of force resulting in death or serious injury, and requiring states to provide data on the use of no-knock search warrants.
Pelosi told Time on Thursday said she believes this call for reform has been “more universally embraced” than previous efforts and added she hopes the Republican Party will support Democrats’ plans for change.
“If our Republican colleagues are oblivious to that, it will be to their peril,” she said.
She also advocated for involving police unions in plans for police reform, saying they “know that there’s some things that have to change and want to be part of that conversation.”