Clyburn calls for Democrats to compromise on policing bill

Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, is urging members of his party to compromise on a policing bill instead of attempting to pass “the perfect piece of legislation.”

“There’s no perfect bill,” the longtime congressman told The Washington Post’s The Early 202 in an interview published on Friday. “To keep trying to get the perfect piece of legislation rather than a good piece of legislation — I just don’t know if that’s a good thing to do.”

Clyburn pointed to the series of civil rights legislation passed in the 1960s and early 1970s as an example.

“When we passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it didn’t have voting [rights protections] in it. It didn’t have housing in it. It didn’t even apply to the public sector,” he said.

The 1964 law was later followed by the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the Fair Housing Act in 1968 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act in 1972, Clyburn noted.

“So, I just think that we have got to make some progress,” he added. “We may not get everything that we need or everything that we want in one fell swoop, but we need to get this done.”

Clyburn’s comments come amid a renewed push for policing reform in the wake of the fatal beating of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols by Memphis police. During a traffic stop in early January, several officers pepper-sprayed, tased and beat Nichols, who later died from his injuries.

Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the top Republican negotiator on police reform in the Senate, has indicated a willingness to return to the issue but warned that “resurrecting” Democrats’ George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a “nonstarter.”

Clyburn told The Early 202 that he believes “the chances are fair to good” that Scott and his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), will restart negotiations on police reform in the coming weeks.

“I talked with Tim Scott two days ago. I’ve talked with Booker. I think the chances are good that we’ll get something done,” Clyburn said. “Will it go as far as I would like to see it go? I don’t know that it will.”

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