Democrats opposed the Republican-authored police reform bill Wednesday – but anyone who relies on the evening newscasts of ABC, NBC or CBS for information would have no idea.
ABC’s “World News Tonight,” “NBC Nightly News” and CBS’ “Evening News” all ignored the story on Wednesday night, according to NewsBusters.
The Democrats, who opposed the bill on the basis it did not go far enough, sparked a furious war of words on the floor, marking an apparent impasse just weeks after George Floyd's death while under the study of Minneapolis police led to calls for new legislation.
NewsBusters analyst Nicholas Fondacaro wrote that ABC, NBC and CBS “completely ignored how Senate Democrats sank the police reform legislation,” noting that “Fox News Channel’s ‘Special Report’ wasn’t trying to hide the truth from their viewers.”
“Anchor Bret Baier addressed the death of the bill during the panel discussion with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan and Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel,” Fondacaro wrote.
ABC News, CBS News and NBC News did not immediately respond to separate requests for comment.
The procedural vote on whether to start debate was 55-45; it needed 60 votes in order to proceed. Republicans had 53 votes, but not enough Democrats joined them. The decision essentially froze police reform in Congress for now, even if the House approves its own measure on Thursday.
“The Senate was supposed to officially take up police reform on the floor today. Instead, our Democratic colleagues are poised to turn this routine step into a partisan impasse,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., fumed Wednesday, saying the bill was a “first offer” and could have been altered during the debate process.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., shot back at McConnell, and said the bill was the "legislative equivalent of a fig leaf, something that provides a little cover but no real change."
The GOP legislation, spearheaded by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., would beef up requirements for law enforcement to compile use-of-force reports. It would also establish the Breonna Taylor Notification Act to track “no-knock” warrants. To focus on ending chokeholds, it encourages agencies to do away with the practice or risk losing federal funds.
However, the bill did not ban chokeholds outright and does not end qualified immunity – two items that Democrats have demanded.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate have proposed bills amid the movement to reform policing in the wake of Floyd's death last month.