Senate Minority Leader Schumer Holds News Conference CSPAN June 24, 2020 6:29am-7:00am EDT
enough. this is half an hour. >> okay, hello everybody and thank you for coming, i'm pleased to be joined by my colleagues, durbin, booker and harris. let me begin. the senate republican justice act is lacking in substance and will to not make the reforms needed to stop police brutality against black americans and the reforms that are americans are demanding more from. since last night, many, most of the leading civil rights groups have come out opposing the
republican bill and urge the senate to reject the bill calling it a nonstarter. the naacp legal defense fund, the urban league, the national action network, even been crowned, the attorney for the families of george floyd, breonna taylor, michael brown, trayvon martin, said do not go forward with this bill, it's a nonstarter. we just got a letter signed by the leadership conference of civil rights and human rights, we need a group that had the duck, 138 organizations have signed it, all the major civil rights organization, i will redo a paragraph. the justice act they write is an inadequate response to the decades of pain, hardship that the black people have and continue to endure as a result of systematic racism and lacks policies that fail to hold
police accountable from misconduct. the bill falls short of the comprehensive reform needed to address the current policing crisis and achieve meaningful law enforcement accountability. it is deeply problematic to meet this moment with a menial incremental approach that offers more funding to police and few policies to effectively address the constant loss of black lives at the hands of police. we therefore urge you to oppose the justice act and vote no on the motion to proceed. now, who do you believe wants to protect the civil rights of african-americans when there is police abuse. mitch mcconnell for the leadership conference of civil rights. who do you believe. i will tell you who we believe. the bill as has been outlined by my colleagues is fundamentally and irreparably flawed. here's the problem, it will
never get fixed in the senate, nor -- there is no pathway of amending the bill in a significant way they get 60 votes on the amendment. it is a cul-de-sac, cynically designed by leader mcconnell so he can say he could do something but do nothing. there is no way that we emerge with a bill if this is the base bill, plain and simple. and no one has outlined the process by which that would happen. take the ten or 12 issues, ten or 12 issues that are not in this bill in a significant way. i don't know if any would pass on amendment. the way to pass bills in the senate, major bills, let me just say, when mcconnell scheduled a
vote this week, he led the senate into a cul-de-sac, a dead end, a bridge to nowhere and he knew it, there is no way a bill emerges from this process. all 100 senators know how the senate works when leader mcconnell wants to make a law rather than score partisan points. you start out with a bipartisan process, drafting a partisan bill, jumping on the for and say take it or leave it with getting the burden of tough issues offer republican shoulders without doing anything. democrats, we are serious about getting something meaningful. we believe there is a path to get something done as a bipartisan bill a base bill, that has a good chance of passing from the get-go and you have an amendment process but you are not starting off so deep in the hole you can never dig yourself out. so we plead with leader mcconnell, do it in a bipartisan way, that is how anything
passes, the covid bill needed a partisan support. the land and water conservation fund needed bipartisan support, the great outdoors act. probably the most analogous situation, the immigration bill, a few years ago, very contentious, deep down in the american psyche and we put a bipartisan group together, it went through committee and we got 69 votes. even on issues like policing reform. we can and we must work with each other and craft a bill that could actually pass the senate. we plead with leader mcconnell and the better angels of the american nature. don't score political points. come together with us, we will negotiate in good faith, get a good base bill and we can move
forward. senator durbin. >> thank you, senator shermer, to date atlanta, georgia will gather in the morning to say goodbye to ryszard rooks, another black man was murdered by a police officer. despite not posing any immediate threat. it is two weeks after george floyd's family gathered in houston, texas to bury their beloved father, brother and friend. another heartbreaking final farewell to a black man who lost his life after an encounter with local police. another tuesday in america. what we have before us in the senate are two very different bills. on the democratic side, and proud to join with senators harris and booker injustice policing act in 2020, comprehensive approach to real
lease reform. republicans have their own proposal which they call to justice, unfortunately lacks any real concrete steps toward accountability so the next generational law enforcement protects and serves everyone in this country. for example, the republican bills failed to reform qualified immunity and does nothing to strengthen the ability the justice department civil rights for patterns and practices of misconduct. instead of investing community efforts to reimagine policing, the republican bill would provide more than $7 billion of new federal funds for law enforcement over the next five years. it also fails to limit the transfer of military grade equipment to local law enforcement, the civil rights groups of the center of the battle for adjustments oppose the republican bill senator schumer told us, including the legendary leadership conference the naacp legal defense fund and the national league. now that both parties put the proposal on the table
republicans and democrats should sit down as a minority leader has suggested should sit down and try to work up in good faith a bipartisan agreement. whether we should avoid is a rush to have a partisan vote on the floor of the senate before we try to find common ground. so unfortunately, that is all that mitch mcconnell offers, no clarity on the path forward, no premises of an open amendment process, no guarantee every opportunity to approve the bill on a bipartisan basis prefer americans that are skeptical about whether this united states congress can rise to the challenge, i do not blame you. but change is possible. two years ago the senate passed the first step act, the criminal justice reform in a generation on 87 - 12 vote in the senate and what i heard what is a bipartisan bill, senators grassley, lee and myself, senator booker and many others,
senator harris joined in, a bipartisan bill, 87 - 12 but we had to work at it to put it together. what i heard last week from every member of the senate judiciary committee was the desire to roll up the sleeves and work toward an agreement that can pass into it before the american public so they can watch the process. we all went to george floyd, breonna taylor, ryszard brooks, although the black and brown lives that we've lost to racial injustice, we owe it to them to take real action about justice and accountability. let's seize this moment and work together let's make the necessary changes to create a safer and just america. >> senator booker. >> we got this moment in just a few weeks, we have a moment that's built in our country in generations. there have been generational calls for accountability and
police. and spoke specifically towards police brutality. you can go to the commission and go to the studies that were done in the 60s one after another pointed to the pattern of practices of police brutality and lack of accountability and lack of transparency and lack of consequences. and police officers do horrible things. the urban people who work for generations to try to get to this point in america. we are now after the gruesome death george floyd breonna taylor, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of americans have been protesting the streets on just the polling shows democrats and republicans are calling for specific action supported by a majority of republicans to in these kinds of nightmares.
no knock warrants, carotid colds, chokehold, racial and religious profile. at this moment want to be seen mitch mcconnell and the republicans doing, they are setting up a process that they know will fail. how do we get bipartisan things done, you heard my colleagues mention it, we sell it with the immigration reform and we saw with the criminal justice bill in committee, there has been no assigning to committee, no pointing out senators, try to work this out, find a common ground, go from there, instead setting up a process intentionally knowing it will fail. all on a bill that every major organization has been working on police reform says we should not go one, we should not entertain
what is symbols and no substance. there bill would not have made what killed breonna taylor legal would not be on the chokehold that killed taylor. it would not have allowed the family george floyd to sue uncivil rights charges for the violation of civil rights. there bill fails over and over again, people in the community, people in all 50 states, hundreds of cities and small towns are not standing up and chanting, we want a commission. no, they want accountability, they're not standing up for the same, we want more data, we want a study, no missing that there certain practices that should be violated and should be stopped. transparency of one of police officer does something with the conscience of this country
should be held accountable in court. and so this is a moment of appeal. there is a way to get this done. i have been involved in that kind of work in the senate. that got the same civil rights communities that are condemning this bill and condemning the process that mitch mcconnell is leading us to an end the community that was part of our process to pass criminal justice reform. , this is truly sad, it is sad that mitch mcconnell is putting us in this direction in creating a process that will fail both upon a bill that is so flawed, so inadequate that everyone from the aclu committee of civil rights, the naacp, everyone is
saying you been fighting for these issues, organizations that have been fighting for generations know is a bill that is not even capable of creating the accountability that could've saved lives of the peoples whose names we say so often now in this moment of challenge. i want to conclude with this, we need to rise in this moment, we need to come together in a bipartisan way, we need to get real work done that will save black lives, reform policing and make the nation a safer place for everyone. >> why are we here, we're here because mitch mcconnell has put approval challenging us to either comply with his political game that is about obstructing the united states senate ability to do something or to play a
game with him which is only about covering his political concern and not about the real concerns that the american people have. about the reality of two systems of justice in america. we will not play that game. we will not be played. the truth as we know it, people by the thousands are marching in the streets of america, of every race, age and gender in every geographical occasion and all the 50 states, unified, demanding more from that we act, demanding more from that finally something is actually done, we have in our power to actually do something, there is an opportunity in this moment for
the elected leaders in this, the so-called deliberative body in the world to actually do something, instead the majority leader would have us play political games with the hopes, the dreams and the demands of the american people this is yet again an obstruction of tactic that is meant to distract us from the work, the hard work, no doubt, hard work that must be done. the justice and policing act has received a profound amount of support in the house and here in the senate, it is very detailed and what it provides in terms of a solution to a problem that no one can deny which is for far too long, we have not required the system to be held
accountable in phase consequence when it fails, the american people for far too long in the criminal justice system we have only talked about accountability and consequences, when it relates to the people who are arrested without asking that question of the very system itself and the people who work within the system. the justice and policing act addresses that very specific concern with a very detailed response that is well-thought-out and frankly the product of work that has been happening for years and years. so on june 9 in response to the people on the streets demanding more from this kind of work, we offer the justice and policing act and over a week later, a week later, how many thousands of people have been marching in
that, over a week later the republicans offer their bill. which does not adopt or take into account any of the bones or details. any of the substance of 100 been offered. , one might ask why would they do that, over a week later, after those early been something proposed, i did not want to deal with the hard reality of what we discussed in our bill. they did not want to deal with a difficult process that would be required for people to have the courage to speak about the long-standing discrimination in abuses that have taken place that mice enter must be corrected, they offer a distraction that is a distraction with the intention of obstructing meaningful change. so i said earlier today.
i for one do not intend to be played, i do not intend to be part of the discussion where some might suggest democrats are trying to stand in the way of police reform. ask any member of the civil rights groups that have been working on this for generations and they'll tell you the truth about that. in this case sadly, it is the democrats, not with any of our republican colleagues so far who have done the real work of engaging reform so we can get equal justice under the law. so thinking. >> why not go to conference speaker pelosi indicated that she would support that where you negotiate the democratic bill in the republican bill and second
question, the other three of you who spoke, is its beginning of the gang, will you still be talking. >> speaker pelosi has said strongly how bad this bill is. the way mcconnell has set this up, this will be the bill that will come forward. we will not even get this process. the black caucus has supported what we have done and you cannot move forward on this bill. >> in our conversations are going wrong, but we go back to the fact that tomorrow we will be moving to a deeply flawed bill. mitch mcconnell knows is not going to pass. he is setting this up for failure so he can check a political box and move off with an issue for millions of americans don't have to deal with it and he would do
something. like the point of the committee. in a gang of eight. or six or ten, he is not doing that, he set up a process that he knows is flawed and will fi feel, he's missing a historic moment where this body should work together in a bipartisan way to do something. >> a follow-up to your question, if you want to get the conference if you need a bipartisan process who will never get to conference, that is on the floor of his proposal. >> qualified immunity is not part of that. however, senator mike brown has introduced legislation a scale of that qualified immunity, this qualified immunity aligned in the same and have you seen this bill. >> the bottom line, we support the justice and policing act, we support all the provisions and we want to work hard to get in that direction. the way mcconnell has done it, we will never get there. >> i answered your question.
>> are you confident that you're going to have the support of everyone in your caucus. >> here is the bottom line, we are still asking mcconnell to set up a bipartisan process so we can avoid the debacle that will occur if he moves to the floor. there is no question about it. we want a bipartisan screen that can actually get a bill passed in the senate, we do not want a political show, no one. no one has detailed away under mcconnell's plan that we get to a bill that can pass. >> next. >> to have a timetable when you can move something meaningful. >> as soon as the republicans come to the conclusion maybe today, maybe tomorrow that we need a bipartisan bill in the process to get there.
that's when we will move a bill. that will continue to mount on them. this is not going away. the people watching in the streets are not going away, the abuses are not going away, the videos of abuses are not going away, we believe the republicans will face such pressure when they see the house passed the bill and when they pass a bill in the senate that they will come to the table. the sooner the better. >> can you talk to us about the specific differences, we just spoke with him, he said the reporting in their bill is very much in line with what you all want. there is a dramatic difference in that pre-can you explain that to us. >> that's another thing that is laughable, read the language of the bill. what they are saying is very narrow reporting and will not report up racial biases and this
treatment of blacks or latinos. they are not asking for a full use of force, only significant use of force that result in death. there are multiple differences between what they are doing and what we are doing. were asking for full transparency and accountability on use of force on misconduct and more, they can help to establish that we can see clearly if there's patterns in practices of discrimination. that are really important. in addition to that in the federal government investigation. and so this idea i heard from republicans that their bill is 70% of our bill, that is fundamentally not true, if it was true you would not see every major police reform organization in every civil rights organization, the entire congressional black caucus and
others saying that their bill is fundamentally flawed but to even get on the bill, not only would it be a trap but legitimize the full reform that will not save african-american lives from being killed by police at the rate that we are seeing them n now. >> i just answer your general question pre-when they see the bills are similar, here's what the civil rights community says. it is deeply problematic to meet this moment with a menial incremental approach, that is not fundamentally similar. that is from the civil rights organization. >> senator brooker, you been in conversation with senator scott and others, senator rubio, can you tell us what those are abou- >> i want to be clear that senator harris and i have had lots of conversations this week. she and i have talked for years,
we introduce police reform legislation years ago, we've been bringing the issue up constantly and again, i will not give any public exposure to public conversation. i will tell you enough is enough. we don't need to study this issue anymore, we don't need another commission, what we need to do is get to the work that people are demanding more from, that we come together and produce things that will save black lives. their bill does not stop the practices that killed everyone from air gardner, breonna taylor, i could go through the names, not in my lifetime i've just lost five or ten years. we want real reform, people around this country are calling for real reform, here is the
trick, democrats and republicans are calling for real reform, they do not support the things in their bill that the majority of republicans are calling for. it is so far short, it is designed to appeal so they can have a political talking point in this is the richest part of it all. where they are going to blame democrats for not wanting real reform, the question simply is us, who do you trust with police reform in america, the naacp or mitch mcconnell, who do you trust on police reform in america. the aclu or mitch mcconnell, who do you trust, the lawyers committee for civil rights were mitch mcconnell. the reality is, the legitimacy of this process that we have pushed all the time asking for real reform has been betrayed of what mitch mcconnell is doing through this procedure that he has set up to fail this moment and that to me is unacceptable and i'm telling you this right now, chuck schumer just said it. sadly if mitch mcconnell calls the senate together for bipartisan work, we will be here
again. , we will be here again. it is a cycle of death and tragedy that we have witnessed for my entire lifetime. now more frequently, on videotape because we failed to put anything in place to protect black lives unarmed americans by police. we want to get something done, we are asking to get something done but sadly this moment is being failed right now by someone who is clearly by the strategy and has no interest, no interest whatsoever in addressing the injustices that we see and policing in america. >> thank you. >> thank you, sir. >> what is the message you have about protest