Pelosi, House Democratic Leaders Call for Senate Action on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Four Weeks After House Passage

July 23, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, four weeks after the House passed the bipartisan George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (CA-37) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) called on the Republican-led Senate to take action on the legislation.

The law is named for George Floyd, the unarmed African-American man who was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25 by a police officer who kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds while he pleaded that he could not breathe. The legislation prohibits racial profiling by law enforcement, bans chokeholds and no-knock warrants, limits the transfer of military-grade equipment to local law enforcement, increases accountability and transparency on police misconduct, invests in community public safety initiatives, and creates new training programs to change the culture of law enforcement, among other provisions.

Since passage of the bill, our nation has witnessed Americans continue to speak out and demand action to address the crisis of police brutality and systemic racism while the Trump Administration has taken unprecedented steps to deploy anonymous federal law enforcement agents and silence peaceful protesters with violence. In addition, since passage of the bill, there have been new cases of police brutality brought to light, including the death of Sean Monterrosa in Vallejo, California on June 2 and an incident in Allenton, Pennsylvania in which an officer placed his knee on the neck of an unarmed man who was in need of medical attention. Americans are also continuing to call for justice for victims of police brutality, including Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain.

“Two months ago, George Floyd spoke his final words – ‘I can’t breathe’ – and ignited an extraordinary movement for justice across the world,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “To honor George Floyd’s life and the lives of all killed by police brutality, we must insist on nothing short of transformative action to end racial injustice and police brutality in America.  Every day that the Republican Senate callously, cruelly and senselessly refuses to take up the bipartisan, life-saving George Floyd Justice in Policing Act means more injustice, more police brutality and more heartbreaking death.”

“It is unacceptable that the Senate refuses to do its job and address the problem of police misconduct and systemic bias against Black men and women in our country,” said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “George Floyd was just one of the many victims of this epidemic that has made millions of Americans feel unsafe in their own communities because of the color of their skin. The American people are demanding change, and the House has passed a major reform bill to respond. The Senate must act as well.  The killings must end. Inaction is not an option. We must not let another month or two or more go by before the Senate does its job and addresses this national challenge.” 

“It has been four weeks since the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. A bold step in the right direction for transformative police reform in our country,” said Chair of the CBC, Rep. Karen Bass. “As protestors around the country continue to march and demand police reform, have we reached the point in our democracy where the cries of the people are no longer relevant? Each day that passes, Black people in America continue to be subjected to racial profiling by police officers and our communities continue to be policed to instill fear, not protect. Since passing the bill, we have witnessed acts of police brutality including the use of chokeholds and even the killing of unarmed Black men and women by police officers including Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. We are beyond the point of saying enough is enough. The Senate must take up this bill to restore the faith in our communities.”

“Since the senseless killing of George Floyd, millions of Americans across the nation have taken peacefully to the streets to demand reform,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler. “It is because of their call to action that the House moved swiftly to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act four weeks ago.  Victims of police brutality can no longer wait for justice. The Senate must do its job and vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. If they continue to stay on the sidelines and refuse to address the crisis of police brutality and systemic racism, the American public will see who really stands with them.”

Leader Hoyer launched the JusticeInPolicing.us website to allow Americans to learn about the bill, become a citizen cosponsor, and share their story. Thousands of Americans are calling for action and sharing stories of bias and misconduct in encounters with law enforcement. Click here to learn more.