Rep. Karen Bass vows to persist on police reform: ‘We have to keep pushing’

The California Democrat told a POLITICO virtual town hall the current moment presented a unique opportunity.

Rep. Karen Bass, one of the chief architects of the House police reform bill, vowed on Tuesday to continue fighting for change even as the legislation stalls in Congress.

Speaking at a POLITICO virtual town hall, the California Democrat said she believed the current moment presented a unique opportunity to combat police brutality.

“This is something I’ve worked on for over four decades. I’m not hardly going to stop now,” Bass told POLITICO reporters Laura Barrón-López and Eugene Daniels. “Especially when we have this moment where transformative change is possible. But we have to push, we have to keep pushing, and I’m ready to do that.”

On Thursday, the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act with the support of every Democratic representative and three Republican lawmakers.

The bill, drafted by the Congressional Black Caucus, would end the “qualified immunity” doctrine that protects police officers from lawsuits and ban no-knock warrants. But despite the legislation’s bipartisan support in the House, the reform effort is unlikely to make its way past the Republican-controlled Senate and get to President Donald Trump’s desk.

Bass said she was not aware of any ongoing negotiations to advance the bill in the Senate, but expressed optimism that some GOP senators could be swayed.

“What I am hoping is that in conversations that I am beginning to have with my Republican colleagues in the House, they have their colleagues in the Senate, just as we do on the Democratic side,” Bass said. “And so I am hoping with those conversations that they might be able to move some of their colleagues over in the Senate.”

Bass has seen her national profile rise in recent weeks as she spearheaded the Democratic effort to overhaul the criminal justice system and tackle systemic racism in policing. Her name has even been floated as a potential running mate for Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

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