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Author Topic: McConnell sees no urgency in saving Black lives, curtailing the cops  (Read 26 times)


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McConnell sees no urgency in saving Black lives, curtailing the cops

Sen. Tim Scott, the South Carolinian who bears the tremendous burden of being the only Black Republican in the Senate, is urging his colleagues to take swift action on police reform legislation. His urgency is falling on deaf ears with his leadership. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is in no hurry.

"Without the bill becoming law—whether it's my bill or some other version of some other bill—then we've kind of failed the moment," Scott told Politico. "Us waiting a month before we vote is a bad decision. So I hope we are willing to take up legislation and just get on the record. If it fails, it fails." Scott is leading a group of other Republican senators who are preparing legislation to introduce this week, and says he had a "positive" call with Donald Trump about it. In addition to his legislation, there's already legislation from House and Senate Democrats, the Justice in Policing Act.

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But it appears that McConnell isn't willing to do anything substantive before the July recess, which is going to last until the week of July 20. Pressed Tuesday by reporters on when the Senate would vote on the bill, McConnell just said "We'll let you know." Asked again if supported the bill and would schedule a floor vote, he repeated "We'll let you know." He is supposedly "pushing for as broad support within the Senate GOP conference as possible," according to CNN. Given the timidity of Scott's bill, that shouldn't be an issue, though it is an excuse for McConnell to delay the bill.

There doesn't seem to be much urgency among those Republicans who are working with Scott on the bill. Politico talked to Oklahoma Republican James Lankford, who says they'll just be really busy until August with, checks notes, an annual defense policy bill. "It's hard to determine in a presidential election year because all the politics get pretty noisy as everyone tries to dig in," he said. Whatever that means for doing the public's business.

McConnell's deputy, John Thune of South Dakota, is similarly unhurried. "I think it has enough support if we can get a process to move it, possibly," he told Politico. "But I would say at this moment probably unlikely in this work period—July, more likely." Another member of McConnell's leadership team, Missouri's Roy Blunt, is similarly unhurried. "I'd be surprised if it happens before the July recess," he offered.

Here's the business that McConnell finds urgent: confirming his former intern, the wholly unqualified Justin Walker to the second highest court in the country, the D.C. Circuit. That's what McConnell spent Tuesday morning talking about on the Senate floor. "As my fellow Kentuckians and I can attest, Judge Walker is exactly the kind of individual our country deserves to have in such a role." We deserve an appeals court judge who has had half a second of courtroom experience, just the few months in which he's been in the seat McConnell got him on to a district court in Kentucky. That's what McConnell is going to be consumed with for the week, he promised. "I look forward to continuing to detail our Kentucky pride for Judge Walker as the week unfolds. And I'll take great pride in voting to advance his nomination and to confirm him."

Because sure, that's what matters most right now, right this minute when the streets are filled with people demanding justice and accountability from the police. Maybe Sen. Scott should think about using some of his leverage here, and block the Walker nomination from moving until he gets his vote.


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