WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today released the below statement after Democrats’ obstruction of the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act. The motion to proceed failed on a vote of 55 to 45.
“This is a sad day in our nation’s history. America is crying out for a solution, which we attempted to begin today. There is widespread agreement among the American people that Congress must pass police reform legislation. Today, we weren’t even asking to pass this bill. We were simply asking for our Democrat colleagues to join Republicans in meeting the 60 vote requirement to pass a motion to proceed to consider the JUSTICE Act. To be clear: this vote would simply allow us to begin debating this legislation. It means we could consider amendments and debate certain issues and reach a compromise that would improve the bill. This is how we reach true, bipartisan solutions on important issues that matter to the American people. We’ve done it before, and it’s common procedure. This is how this body should work.
“I am extremely disappointed in my Democratic colleagues. What we experienced today was pure partisanship. Make no mistake, this is a bipartisan issue. We all agree that reform needs to happen, and while we may have different approaches to achieving that, the JUSTICE Act has plenty of common ground that can serve as a starting point for discussion. In fact, eight out of the 11 solutions in the JUSTICE Act overlap with priorities in the House bill. Given the amount of overlap between our two bills in the House and the Senate, beginning the amendment process is the best way to move toward a bill that can become law. Had we advanced this bill, bipartisan negotiations would have continued and further improvements to the bill would have been debated and made. Blocking this legislation gets us absolutely nowhere.
“Today’s move by my Democratic colleagues to block a procedural motion that would allow us to consider such legislation is further evidence that they would rather make a point than a law. It is further proof that they would rather our nation continue to feel pain and anger instead of attempting to bring forward change and reform. Today’s move by the Democrats is another example that they are prioritizing campaign politics over the American people. Today is a sad day, but I’m hopeful my colleagues will come to their senses, put politics aside, and do what the American people asked them to do.”
Senator Capito was among the group of Republicans—led by Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.)—that crafted this legislation. Last Wednesday, the group announced the introduction of the bill during a press conference. The legislation provides long-term solutions focused on police reform, accountability and transparency, while also promoting efforts to find solutions to systemic issues affecting people of color such as education and health disparities. Following the introduction, Senator Capito delivered remarks on the Senate floor discussing the legislation and the importance of the issue.
Both the JUSTICE Act and the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, the House Democrats’ bill, make lynching a federal crime, call for increased data collection, more training for law enforcement officials and incentives for law enforcement officers to wear body cameras, and create a national criminal justice commission.
The full text of the JUSTICE Act is here, and a section-by-section analysis is here.
Had today’s motion passed, the Senate would have been able to move forward with legislation to strengthen:
LAW ENFORCEMENT REFORM
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