South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott believes that after months of negotiations on a police reform bill, talks broke down because Democratic politicians wanted to cut funding to law enforcement departments.
Scott told CBS’s “Face the Nation” over the weekend, “We said simply this, ‘I’m not going to participate in reducing funding for the police after we saw a major city after major city defund the police.’
“We want the best wearing the badge, and we want the vulnerable protected. So when you tie funding losses in this legislation, you should expect an allergic reaction from me.”
Momentum surrounding legislation that would reform U.S. police departments picked up following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer. Intertwined in discussions of police department reforms are typically proponents of “defund the police,” who argue that the government should spend less money on law enforcement and more on social services.
Scott and New Jersey Democratic Sen Cory Booker have been working for months with Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., on a reform bill. Bu lawmakers last week told reporters that discussions had stalled.
“We were not making progress. In fact … we we’re actually moving away from it,” Booker said.
“Unfortunately, even with this law enforcement support and further compromises we offered, there was still too wide a gulf with our negotiating partners and we faced significant obstacles to securing a bipartisan deal,” he said in a separate statement.
Across the country, violent crime has recently increases in major cities as police departments struggle to maintain a full force due to the heightened number of officers leaving the force.