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Bipartisan police reform bill still far off, sources say

·Chief National Correspondent
·2 min read
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Despite optimistic assurances from lawmakers working on a bipartisan police reform bill in Congress, an actual agreement remains elusive, sources told Yahoo News.

Talks between Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., are still not very close to a deal, a source familiar with the negotiations told Yahoo News. Scott, Booker and Bass have been leading talks in an effort to find a police reform package acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans.

The three lawmakers issued a statement on Thursday saying they had “reached an agreement on a framework addressing the major issues for bipartisan police reform.”

Karen Bass, Tim Scott and Cory Booker
From left, Rep. Karen Bass, Sen. Tim Scott and Sen. Cory Booker. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

But even the statement from the lawmakers included language that made clear that a deal on a framework was not a final agreement.

“There is still more work to be done on the final bill, and nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. Over the next few weeks we look forward to continuing our work toward getting a finalized proposal across the finish line,” the statement said.

Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union in the country, told Yahoo News that “a framework is a long way from language and language is a long way from consensus and consensus is a long way from passage.”

And Pasco — who has also been part of the negotiations — was pessimistic earlier this week about chances of a final agreement, saying that “last time I checked they weren’t very close to a deal.”

This was a very different tune from earlier in June, when Pasco told Yahoo News that his union had been in positive talks and that he was “cautiously optimistic” that negotiators had come to an agreement.

But talks appear to have ground down over the past few weeks, with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., taking more of an active role — both in behind-the-scenes negotiations and also publicly. Graham made pessimistic public comments about the likelihood of a deal days after the police union told Yahoo News the negotiators were close to a final agreement.

Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

This reversal in momentum has come as Republicans have made clear that they plan to campaign in the 2022 midterm elections on rising crime rates, which have become a much more salient issue for voters in the last two months.

Nonetheless, a Senate aide insisted that “we still have work to do, but everyone is very optimistic we can get there.”

Cover photo thumbnail: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

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