Sen. Cory Booker pushed back Sunday against Sen. Tim Scott's allegations that Democrats were responsible for the collapsing negotiations on police reform through the party's efforts to defund the police.
Scott, a South Carolina Republican, and Booker, a Democrat of New Jersey, are the two leading negotiators of the proposed police reform bill, which lawmakers first began discussing following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25, 2020. The disagreement between the two lawmakers pinpoints a significant disconnect between both parties on the interpretations of "defund the police," a term intended to support moving funds away from standard policing toward other forms of public safety and community initiatives that stray away from use of force.
"This is a bill that would have had millions of dollars for police departments ... millions of dollars more, additional dollars, because we want to help officers with mental health issues. We want to collect more data so we should give more resources, "Booker said on CNN's State of the Union.
Scott decried the Democrats' pursuit of police reform as efforts to defund law enforcement departments during an interview with CBS News's Face the Nation on Sunday.
CONGRESS GIVES UP ON BIPARTISAN POLICE REFORM AFTER MONTHS OF NEGOTIATIONS
"We said simply this: 'I'm not going to participate in reducing funding for police after we saw a major city after major city defund the police,'" Scott said. "Many provisions in this bill [Democrats] wanted me to agree to limited or reduced funding for the police."
Booker held back in his criticism of Scott, saying, "I send him grace all the time, he is a friend of mine."
"I promised the families we're going to get something done. I'm still at work. I'm not throwing accusations at either side," Booker added.
Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans began in April after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted for the death of Floyd.
Democrats announced Wednesday that negotiations had ended, citing a refusal by the GOP to accept changes to legal protections now afforded to police officers that protect them from lawsuits and prosecution for their actions while on duty.
Scott said that Democrats rejected his offer to introduce a bill that included provisions the two parties supported, such as banning chokeholds, limiting police acquisition of military equipment, and providing more mental health resources, claiming that Democrats rejected the plan "because they could not let go of their push to defund our law enforcement."
The South Carolina senator said he'll keep seeking a legislative compromise "with anyone who is serious about finding bipartisan solutions that bring justice, fairness, and safety for the most vulnerable among us."
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Tags: News, Cory Booker, Tim Scott, Reform, Police
Original Author: Kaelan Deese
Original Location: Cory Booker spars over Tim Scott's claim Democrats wanted to defund police in reform bill