tv U.S. Senate Sens. Blunt Lankford on Police Reform CSPAN June 25, 2020 8:27am-8:52am EDT
love your neighbor as yourself. it's both that simple and that challenging. so i'm asking all of us in this body to be more like iowa. let's find the solution. let's takete that first step in begin our journey together. thank you, mr. president. i will yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. >> mr. president, when i heard your comments earlier today i couldn't have agreed more of the importance of us dealing with the issues that were on the floor today that we failed to deal with. i heard our good friend, senator scott's response to the way his hard work was looked at and, frankly, ignored. when the congress stops
resembling an honest and open discussion of the issues, i think it gives us a lot to be concerned about. the solution should be the goal. when members of congress are more interested in a bill that they believe to be perfect, rather than seriously engaging in debate, it raises a lot of concerns about how we protect liberty and that we do our constitutional duty. i've been in college for a while, mr. president, as some of my friends are more than eager to point out, and i have never for a perfect bill. ever. i've introduced a couple of perfect bills but i never voted for a perfect bill. i never voted b for a bill that couldn't be improved. our good friend tim scott said something the other day that struck me as a truism. he said i think most americans are tired of republicans and
democrats talking about republicans and democrats. most americans, as senator scott's point was made, what is to solve problems. they want us to, not with the best answer possible, they want us to come up with the best possible answer. and what's the difference in the best answer possible and the best possible answer? a difference is figuring out when you have gotten down as much as you can get done and you decide that incc this process yu want to accept that and come back at a later time and see if you can do a little better. they don't want us to reject a promising solution just because someone from the other party said it first. they don't want us to reject a promising solution just because it doesn't solve everything. nothing around here happens as fast as we would like it to.
debate, discussion, compromise all take time. remember, the constitution was put together by people who didn't trust government and they didn't want to d make it easy fr government to do things, and they didn't. one of the great successes of all time was the success of making it's hard for our government to do things. it's hard to explainie in other countries where they have parliamentary systems, where if the leader doesn't get what the leader wants, the government collapses. that's not the way this government is designed at all. it is designed to take some time, but you have to be willing to take the time. it's designed to reach compromise, but you have to be willing to reach compromise. we think our job should be, again, come up with the best come up with and try to do the job that we were sent here to do. try not to wait and say well, we'repa too close to election.
apparently we're too close to election all the time now. never want to give away anything that could be a medical issue because it's better made in some minds not to solve it that is to solve it. today's disappointing vote doesn't have to be final. the majority leader changed his vote at the very end. it was 56-54, three democrats and all of the republicans wanting to move forward, , but t takes 60 votes here to move forward. and by the way, mr. president, it also takes 60 votes to get off the bill to have a vote. there was nothing to be lost by seeing if we couldn't make senator scott's bill better here in fact, i understand from his speech earlier he agreed that 20 amendments that have the possibility to do that, and that's what we're supposed to do. we are here to vote, we're here to make decisions. we are here to move forward or
to decide we don't want to move forward. there a are times when a decisin is we do want to solve, this is not the rightbl solution for ths problem. that was not whater we were dealing with today. our colleagues in the house planned their own legislation. there was that moment of hope and the speaker of the house said she looked forward to taking their product, their bill to conference. you'll begin to take a a bill to conference if there's a conference, and you only get to take a bill to conference if we pass a bill and the house passes a bill. and by the way if they are exactly the same bill, there is no reason goo to conference. that bill goes to the president. we passed the bill, the house passes a bill, we go to conference and then we come back and we are unwilling, 44 of our colleagues were unwilling to go through that process. you know you get on a bill like this, you get a lot of votes. you get to vote to go to the
debate, you get to vote to pass the senate bill. it's been actually a while since i heard somebody say, well, it used to be said often, i'm voting for this bill. i don't think b it's where it should be yet, but i look forward to voting for a better process coming out of conference. you used to do that all the time. i'm voting for this bill so we can get to conference, and in conference ongoing to do everything i can to work to make it better. that's how the process works. this take it or leave it, nobody shows up, our friends on the house show up one day to vote on a bill that god knows who decided what would be in that bill, and that's a bill we either accept or reject. what a foolish way to do business. what an unsatisfactory way to fail to debate the issues that
people sent us here to decide on. but h again, the house will pass the bill this week, and unless we reconsider this decision, that will be the end of it. that will be the end of it. the house has passed a bill. we're not going to take the house built up. there's no senate product to go to conference. that's the end of it. it is an issue that we need to find a solution to. it was an issue we needed to find a solution to after what happened in st. louis in 2014. it'so an issue we needed to find a solution to, the dates seem to be getting closer to where this year three things happen in a row. maybe moreth than three, that shouldn't have happened. and things have happened since those three things that shouldn't have happened. we need to lead on this issue. we need to find a way to make a
successful conclusion to the best we can do. and the best we can do today doesn't mean that's the best we can ever do. it just means when youin have something that you are agreeing with it, and this isn't even a bill were, senator scott's bill. i didn't hear democrats and i agree with 80% of what's in the bill. they were more likely to say 80% of what iof i want to do is in e bill. take 80% 80% of what you want o to conference, hope he comes back with 90% of what you want to do or 96% of what you want to do. but if you don't trust the process, the process cannot produce a result. people are tired of us tailing to do our job. we need to vote -- failing if we need to have amendments. we need to have bills on the floor on issues like this that the american people are in the
streets of s america saying sole this't problem. you can't solve this problem by turning your back on it. you can't solve this problem by saying if i don't get this exactly the way i want it, i would rather not have anything. i'll tell you what that gets you. that get you nothing. in a democracy that does not work. if you're if you are getting yol the time at home, at church, at school, at work, in the congress, there is something wrong with y you. there is something wrong with you. nobody gets their way all the time. compromise is the essence of democracy, but you've got to have, you've got to be willing to go to the place were compromise happens. on this bill that would of been a conference to see if we can't come closer to a bill that everybody believes is the best we can do.
i think senator scott did a great job with his bill. i think store scott thinks his bill could be better, but his bill is not the house bill and the house bill is not going to be the final bill either. what a mistake, mr. president, to walk away from the chance to solve a problem. >> mr. president? >> senatorfi from oklahoma. >> we just finished up a vote on the senate floor will be felt -- fell four votes short of opening debate on a built to deal with police reform.
four votes short. we are for votes short of discussing every single republican voted for this and a handful of democrats, , but the vast majority of democrats actually said no, we don't want to debate this bill. we will only debate the pelosi bill when it comes out of the house. well, that's absurd. that, that didn't happen, i can assure you, when speaker boehner was the leader of the house, that the senate said i will tell you what, we will wait and see what ever speaker boehnerak sine over to harry reid and harry reid would say yes, , please, we will take up whatever the banner bill was. that was never done, and they know that. such an odd, and odd, peculiar season in our country
politically and a painful season in our country, culturally and practically. our hope was r to be able to hae a real debate on a real bill. i was part of the team in writing this bill. this bill was a genuine push to be able to reform how we do to increaseand accountability and transparency across the country. the bill that we just needed four democrats to join, just four four democrats to join together to open up for debate would have banned choke holdsth across the country. would've required the reporting of all serious bodily injury or death in police custody from everywhere in the country to start tracking all of this. would've gathered information on no-knock warrants all around the
country come to start tracking this information to the if they are being abused. would've put more body cameras on the street. this bill that we just needed four four democrats to join us on, just or mac, what up at $150 $50 million -- just four, would have put $150 million more in body cameras pick would also put new requirements to be able to make sure they stay on. which is been an issue. this bill would just needed four democrats to join is just so we could debate, , discuss and amended would have had a whole new system tracking complaints, discipline actions, would have pulled together records foro law enforcement officers to make sure that they would have had those records, their accommodations in the discipline, travel to the next department with him so before an officer leaves one department
and goes to the next, all the records are made available tova the next department so we don't have that apple moving from department to department. this bill that we just needed four four democrats to be able to join on with us, any four, just so we could open it up and debate it and amended it would have changed assistant on a duty that intervened. putting new obligations, new training, new requirements on an officer that is watching another officer do something they know is wrong to be able to intervene in the process and to be able to stop it. the national commission to be able to hold folks together to be able to get the best ideas from around the country, to be able to gather best practices that it happened. there's also a new piece that is in this. it's not in the pelosi bill. it's only in this bill that deals with giving a false report
if you're a police officer. because at times we will have a police officer, there's serious bodily injury or death and the written record doesn't match the route of what heaven. it's not just a miss remember. they intentionally turned in a false report. this bill that we wanted to just debate today would have allowed us to be able to add additional penalties on that to be able to make sure someone receives the due penalty if they are trying to lie on forms. this bill would have dealt with mental health. this bill would have dealt with de-escalationg. training. this bill was designed to be able to help get additional training. this bill has a section on using the museum of african american history to design a curriculum that we could p put out to every department around the country in the history of race and law enforcement.
it's a model after what was done in the holocaust museum to deal with anti-semitism. that's what this bill was designed to do. and we just needed four democrats to join us. but instead they dug in, did press releases and said that bill isul terrible, it's awful,t has no teeth in it. that bill is unsalvageable. i would ask any american listening to me and anyone in this room, either one of those ideas that you don't like? and the conversation was not going to happen open process. so senator scott who is our point negotiator in this sat down with democratic leadership and said, how about 20 amendments? 20 amendments on this bill. so if you want to bring something up to amend it, change
it, great. they said no. because their desire is only speaker pelosi's bill or nothing. i think that's exceptionally sad because we have been through journey so many times where we will see a black man be killed and we were all watching the footage, and all countryou rises up, and congress starts debating and then it stops, and it stops because of silly stuff like this where people dig in and say, if you don't do it entirely our way, then we are not going to do it at all. because it's not about solving the problem. it's just about prolonging a problem so you can make it a political issue when families out there want this solved. all of thosese things i listed e all out there.
now, , there's two things that i've heard to say we will not bill, not discuss, will block it from coming to the floor which is what happened today. the two issues i've heard is, you know what, i really want us to go to committee. i want a committee to look at this, take some time, go through this. that's a fascinating argument, and i wish it was true because two weeks ago t the discussion s when you do get on this as quickly as possible, until we actually put out a legitimate then my democratic colleagues said,it well, there'a problem with how your putting it out. we're going to debate on the floor. i would rather debate on committee and then have the floor bring it but not debate on the floor. i don't want to debate it out here. let's debate it over there. no one is buying that argument. no one is buying that. if you can put 20 amendments on
this, that's what happened in the committee, let's bring it, talk about it. shuffling the bills offuf to committee is about delaying and stalling and let's delay this out because they know okay, we won't get it this week and they will delay it out and then it's after the fourth of july, come back after the fourth of july we have coronavirus building no. we have the appropriation bills that they know, so its like okay it won't happen there so then there's the august gap and then moved to september and then what you're trying to do is try to get closer and closer to the election of the make it a big election issue and save those crazy republicans won't resolve this. election make it an election issue.it an hello. why don't we just solve this instead of dragging the country through something we all know key ways to be able to solve? so our two issues that we know of, what is a surely political issue, stall, the lake and try
to get this close to the election and divide the country. the second one deals with an issue on whether police officers should not only face criminal liability, they should face civil liability as well. and you did this get kicked around all the time and all kinds of different terms. speaker pelosi'sr bill says not only put a police officer in prison, which they deserve, they murder someone commit a crime and police officer is liable for law as of what is. if not they should be in we should fix that. speaker pelosi's bill says not only put them in prison, also similarly take awayal their home and their car and there pension away from the family to make sure we leave them destitute and the family destitute as well as putting them in prison. that's what they're bill is all about. -- civilly. it is the reason so many police
officers are soll frustrated and furious with the bill that adamantly want to put on the four because they are saying if they didd something wrong, they should face the consequences for it. but don't punish their family. speaker pelosi's bill says no, the police officer should be in prison and their family should have their home taken away from and their police pension taken away from them and everything else your do you know what we had talked about? we talked about a police officer facing criminal penalties as they do now, as they should. and if there's a civil case why do we bring it against the department that didn't trained officer, that didn't supervise the officer? instead of attacking and officers family, why do we hold people accountable action supervise people better? and push the city and the
department to do the right thing to train, equip people and if someone is a problem, don't leave them out there on the street with 18 discipline records. take them off the street. because if you don't, the whole city is going to be held to account for it. that's trying to end this pic that's trying to push towards more supervision. not just trying to be unitive. those are the two differences that i can think of, political and civil. otherwise, a lot of what i mention that's in our bill is in their bill as well. so tim scott made a very simple statement. why do we put this on the floor, why do we actually debate the differences that we have? why don't we have a vote and then why don't we finish this?
leader mcconnell dedicated this week and next week to this bill on police reform to give two weeks to do all kinds of amendments, all kinds of debate. but instead the conversation was no, don't want to do that. it is speaker pelosi's bill or nothing. or let's just slow the whole thing down and send it to committee and delay, delay, delay this thing. why do we deal with this right now? there's two weeks been set aside to do this. there's plenty of timey for amendments.ha why do that instead of just blocking the bill? i just don't know a lot of folks that say to me, i really don't want there to be more body cameras on the street. i do want more oversight by law enforcement when they turn into a false report or when they turn off their body camera. i don't run it a lot of people
who sayo i want to just go ahead and leave the sense of the weight is never really don't know what's happening in the police department when there is bodily injury and harm. i meet a lot of people say, those things make sense to me. why don't wein do it? which unfortunately is my same question today standing on the four of the senate. why don't we do it? -- floor of the senate. with that agile before. >> what. >> what effect my colleague from oklahoma for his dedication to this issue, his very substantive input. i was privileged to serve on the sort of mini group put a lot of work into this, under senator tim scott's very able leadership and of want to thank the way senator lankford always approaches issues, not disparaging motives but always looking at ways to improve and make this world a better place that's what this is about.