President Biden is reportedly planning executive actions for police reform later this month, in an effort to reinvigorate his agenda that circumvents Congressional blockades.
The orders come as Biden’s frustrations mount and his landmark Build Back Better plan and voting rights legislation remain in limbo, pushing his poll numbers down to 33%, according to a recent Quinnipiac survey.
Congress has failed to implement police reform since both Republicans and Democrats presented plans in the wake of the police brutality protests that swept the nation following the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020.
The police reform campaign appears to be part of a last-ditch effort to boost the president’s record ahead of his State of the Union address on March 1.
And as Biden considers action to reform the police force, Democrats in Congress are considering new ways to push through voting rights laws and the Build Back Better package, either by reducing it to splitting it into multiple bills, sources told NBC News. .
The enforcement actions are still being finalized, and it’s not yet clear how they would differ from actions taken by the Justice Department last year, which restricted choking restrictions and no-knock orders.
Sources told NBC News Biden could roll out the new reform to mark the start of Black History month, February, in an effort to build dwindling support among black voters, a key demographic for Democrats as they head for the midterm elections.
President Biden plans executive actions for police reform later this month in an effort to revive his agenda that bypasses Congressional blockades
The orders come as Biden’s frustrations mount and his historic Build Back Better plan and voting rights legislation remain in limbo due to a split congress
The new Quinnipiac survey found that 57% of black Americans approve of Biden’s job in office, still the highest of any demographic but down from 78% in April 2021.
The White House held back executive action last year as the House and Senate postponed their own legislation on police reform. But in September, New Jersey Democrat Sen. Cory Booker and South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott announced that discussions on police reform were over because they saw no way to bridge their differences.
Lawmakers hit a snag over the doctrine of qualified immunity, which protects officers from civil lawsuits. In a statement, Booker said Democrats “couldn’t let go of their pressure to punish our law enforcement.”
But on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki hinted that the president is willing to move forward on his own.
“I think there’s an acknowledgment and a commitment from the president to do what he promised,” she said.
Congress has failed to implement police reform since both Republicans and Democrats presented plans in the wake of the police brutality protests that swept the nation following the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020
At the same time, some Democrats are considering new ways to get through police reform in the Senate. Rep. Jim Clyburn, SC, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, told NBC News that he and other lawmakers were considering linking the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to “must-pass” bills like those that fund the government.
Clyburn, whose presidential approval was key in his nomination, is one of those urging the president not to forget the black voters who sent him to the White House.
Clyburn told NBC that he has particularly pushed Biden to be strict on voting rights, even if that meant laying the hammer down on fellow Democrats.
And in a fiery speech in Atlanta on Tuesday, Biden said he is “tired of being quiet” and that it is time to take action on voting rights.
“I’ve had silent conversations with members of Congress for the past two months,” Biden said of his work on voting rights. And then he slammed onto the stage as the crowd cheered, declaring, “I’m tired of being quiet!”
And he attacked the Senate, an institution where he served for 36 years.
“Unfortunately, the United States Senate, which was designed to be the world’s largest deliberative body, has become a shadow of its former self,” he said.
He called on the Senate to change its rules to bypass the 60-vote threshold needed to move two ballot bills forward. Republicans oppose such a move, and two Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin, W. Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, Ariz., are also suspicious of doing so.
“I believe the threat to democracy is so great that we need to find a way to pass these voting rights laws. Discuss them, vote, let the majority prevail. And at the same time it was blocked, we had no choice but to change the Senate rules, including abolishing the filibuster for this,” Biden said.
Talks about Build Back Better failed after Democrats failed to get Manchin on board with many of their key provisions, and Congress has since moved to pass legislation on voting rights. The House on Thursday passed a massive package to overhaul the voting process at the federal level and send it to the Senate, where it will also be left with no way forward as both Manchin and Sinema have reiterated their opposition to the filibuster rule reform.