MS Republican Congressmen oppose Democrat-led police reform bill
By Frank Corder
All three of Mississippi’s Republican Congressmen voted against the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act” passed mainly down party line in the U.S. House Thursday night.
Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-04), who is a co-sponsor of South Carolina Senator Tim Scott’s JUSTICE Act, said the Democrat leadership’s bill undermines the work of those in law enforcement.
“Once again, House Democrats have blocked Republicans from the democratic process even though we have expressed the need for positive reforms in law enforcement,” Palazzo said in a statement following the vote. “As a cosponsor of the JUSTICE Act in the House, I believe we can achieve more transparency and accountability in the line of duty without undermining the work of so many great men and women safeguarding our communities.”
Congressman Michael Guest (MS-03), a former District Attorney, tweeted his displeasure with the Democrat-led effort in the House as they blocked a resolution to condemn the current wave of violence across the nation.
“Democrats just blocked a resolution to condemn the violence across our nation and oppose efforts to defund the police. This is wrong,” Guest tweeted. “It’s more important than ever that we stand as a united country to protect the lives of citizens and our hard-working police officers.”
North Mississippi Congressman Trent Kelly (MS-01) also voted in opposition on the measure Thursday night, but has not released a statement or commented at press time.
The lone Democrat in Mississippi’s delegation, Congressman Bennie Thompson, strongly supported his party’s legislation, speaking on the floor to urge the passing of the bill. He spoke of the story his grandfather told him 50 years ago on how to deal with police, saying it’s the same story he is telling his grandchildren today.
“You have to walk in my shoes, and the shoes of the Congressional Black Caucus to know what we’re talking about,” Thompson said. “The notion that the system is not broken – it’s operating how it was designed so we’re going to have to fix it, and we fix it by supporting this bill.”
The bill passed the House 236-181, with three Republicans voting in favor and one independent voting in opposition. It now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration where it is believed to be dead on arrival following Senate Democrats’ efforts this week to kill Republican Sen. Scott’s JUSTICE Act.
Mississippi’s Senators, both Republican, voted in favor of advancing Scott’s bill and have been vocal on the need for the legislation as well as calling attention to how Democrats are not operating in good faith in negotiations.
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith spoke on the U.S. Senate floor Thursday calling on Democrats to stop looking for ways to divide the American public, and encouraging her colleagues to reconsider and engage in the debate to improve law enforcement.
Senator Roger Wicker praised the work of his fellow GOP Senator from South Carolina in the reform bill. He urged his social media followers to watch the “powerful, unifying, Christian message” given by Sen. Scott on why he was so passionate about the bill Democrats refused to advance for further work.
You can watch the video at the link below.