House advances police reform bill but major hurdles still ahead

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats were able to push their major police reform package through the House this evening but their bill has some major hurdles before becoming law. 

“This is the day we pass legislation to transform policing in America,” Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said Thursday.

House Democrats advanced their landmark police reform legislation named in honor of George Floyd.

“The Justice in Policing Act is a bill for human rights in our country,” Rep. Bass said. 

“The House is honoring his life, and the lives of all killed by police brutality. And pledging, never again,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. 

Pelosi says the bill aims to fundamentally change the culture of policing and creating a national standard for the use of force banning chokeholds and tracking officers reported for misconduct. 

“To address systemic racism, curb police brutality and bring accountability to our police department. It will save lives,” Pelosi said. 

But House Republican leaders say even if the bill passes as written, it’s not going anywhere in the Republican led Senate.

“We should go to conference. Schumer should allow the senate bill to be debated and we should go to conference,” House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said. 

McCarthy says both parties should have a chance to amend and debate each other’s bills, which he says didn’t happen. 

“Name me one meeting the Democrats had in crafting their bill with anybody on the other side,” McCarthy said. 

Ending qualified immunity remains a sticking point for Republicans like Rep. Doug Lamalfa, R-Calif., who says police officers deserve legal protection. 

“Something’s going to go wrong once in a while. So they need that to continue to do their jobs,” Lamalfa said. 

Senate Republicans say it could be a month or more before they take up police reform again.

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