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House Passes Sweeping Police Overhaul Bill

It has almost no chance of becoming law, per the AP
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 26, 2020 12:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – The House has approved a far-reaching police overhaul from Democrats in a vote heavy with emotion and symbolism as a divided Congress struggles to address the global outcry over the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans, the AP reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gathered with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on the Capitol steps, challenging opponents not to allow the deaths to have been in vain or the outpouring of public support for changes to go unmatched. But the collapse of a Senate Republican bill leaves final legislation in doubt. “Exactly one month ago, George Floyd spoke his final words—‘I can't breathe’—and changed the course of history,” Pelosi said. She said the Senate faces a choice "to honor George Floyd's life or to do nothing." Lawmakers who have been working from home during the COVID-19 crisis were summoned to the Capitol for an emotional, hours-long debate. Dozens voted by proxy under new pandemic rules.

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The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed 236-181 with three Republicans joining Democrats to vote yes, is perhaps the most ambitious set of proposed changes to police procedures and accountability in decades. Backed by the nation's leading civil rights groups, it aims to match the moment of demonstrations that filled streets across the nation. It has almost zero chance of becoming law. On the eve of the Thursday vote, President Trump's administration said he would veto the bill. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also said it would not pass the Republican-held chamber. After the GOP policing bill stalled this week, blocked by Democrats, Trump shrugged. Congress is now at a familiar impasse despite protests outside their door and polling that shows Americans overwhelmingly want changes after the deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others in interactions with law enforcement. The two parties are instead appealing to voters ahead of the fall election, which will determine control of the House, Senate and White House.

(Read more House of Representatives stories.)

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