Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is forging ahead on Wednesday with a procedural vote on a useless police “reform” bill, one which has been rejected by the NAACP and is what the Congressional Black Caucus calls “a completely watered-down fake reform bill.” In a letter to the Senate provided by Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights—a coalition of more than 220 civil and human rights organizations—says it “falls woefully short of the comprehensive reform needed” and it “is deeply problematic to meet this moment with a menial incremental approach that offers more funding to police, and few policies to effectively address the constant loss of Black lives at the hands of police.”
McConnell is forcing this vote even after Sen. Tim Scott, the South Carolinian who is also the only Black member of the Republican conference, bared his soul to his colleagues Tuesday, sharing with them the racist vitriol he gets in calls and emails every day. Instead of taking this moment—this point in time when real change have never been more critical—McConnell is playing games. He’s claiming that Democrats want to “rewrite the bill behind closed doors in advance.” That’s also known as regular order, where the Judiciary Committee meets—with cameras rolling, so it is very much not behind closed doors—to write legislation, with both Republicans and Democrats contributing. McConnell wants instead to shield his Republicans from that public venue. He doesn’t want the American public to see what his Republicans really think about Black people, or what they really think about police brutality.
He wants this bill to fail. He wants to say Republicans offered reform and Democrats rejected it, when in truth Republicans offered nothing of substance and told Democrats they could take it or leave it. And just to punctuate how very little McConnell cares about the Black community, the other vote he’s conducting Wednesday is on yet another one of Donald Trump’s and the Federalist Society’s deplorable judicial picks. This time it’s Cory Wilson for the Fifth Circuit appeals court, a nominee who the entire civil rights community has rejected because of his anti-civil rights record and rhetoric. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, where Wilson would be seated, said in a call of civil rights leaders opposing Wilson that he “has written, worked, and voted in support of laws that have the necessary effect of suppressing minorities’ right to vote—most notably by supporting voter ID laws. He also has derided federal efforts to ensure everyone, including minorities, has the right to vote. […] Wilson’s nomination to the Fifth Circuit is unconscionable but it aptly fulfills the Trump conservative agenda of rolling back the rights of minorities.”
McConnell is insulting and harming Black Americans twice on Wednesday: He’s pushing this racist judge, and he’s preventing any kind of real progress on ending racist and brutal policing.