WASHINGTON (AP) – The House has approved a far-reaching police overhaul from Democrats, 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.
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.”
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act 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 vote, President Donald 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.