WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Senate Republicans on Wednesday unveiled their police reform initiative, which takes a different tack than the one House Democrats have proposed.
The GOP’s plan, dubbed the Justice Act, would use federal grant money to incentivize police departments to adopt less lethal practices.
“Safer officers and safer suspects,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., promised at a press conference to announce the plan.
The GOP plan would also create commissions to study policing in black communities.
“We have to have the right information so that we can direct our resources,” Scott said.
“How many experts have issued reports on dealing with racism in law enforcement in America?” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., rebutted on the Senate floor. “Scores of them.”
He said protesters across the country are demanding action, not more studies, and said the GOP plan does little to hold police accountable or stop racial profiling.
“Let us not miss this opportunity, this historic moment, to do something that will make a difference,” Durbin said.
President Donald Trump quickly endorsed his party’s plan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vowed to call a vote as early as next week.
But Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., isn’t yet on board, saying he wants to make sure the plan helps rather than harms police.
“They need resources,” he said. “They don’t need to be targeted, they don’t need to be tarnished. They need to be helped.”
Democrats are also planning a vote on their bill in the House next week.
Right now, neither party’s plan has bipartisan support. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said it’s time to find common ground.
“Let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” he said.