House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that Republicans are “trying to get away with murder” with their policing legislation, as Senate Democrats signal they will soon block debate on the measure.
“We’re saying no chokeholds,” Pelosi said during an interview with CBS Radio. “They’re not saying no chokeholds. I mean, there’s a big difference there. What’s the compromise? Some chokeholds? I don’t see what the compromise is.”
“For something to happen, they’re going to have to face the reality of police brutality, the reality of the need for justice in policing, and the recognition that there are many, many good people in law enforcement, but not all and that we have to address those concerns,” she added. “So far they’re trying to get away with murder, actually. The murder of George Floyd.”
Following Pelosi’s comments, the National Republican Campaign Committee condemned the remarks and asked for an apology.
“Nancy Pelosi needs to immediately apologize to Republicans for her deplorable accusations,” said NRCC Spokesman Michael McAdams in a statement.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill later claimed that Pelosi was referring primarily to “self-proclaimed Grim Reaper” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Hammill also pointed to other comments made by another Republican about the bill that he believed were offensive.
Earlier on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote McConnell a letter saying the GOP bill is “not salvageable,” ahead of a planned procedural vote on Wednesday. Schumer would not say whether he has every Democrat’s vote against the GOP policing bill but said there is “broad support” in the Democratic caucus.
Democrats have asked for bipartisan negotiations ahead of a floor vote.
“We will not meet this moment by holding a floor vote on the JUSTICE Act, nor can we simply amend this bill, which is so threadbare and lacking in substance that it does not even provide a proper baseline for negotiations. This bill is not salvageable and we need bipartisan talks to get to a constructive starting point,” Schumer said.
At least seven Democrats would have to join Republicans to advance the measure, which was introduced by South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott.
There are deep rifts between the Republican and Democratic proposals. Scott’s bill does not include a federal ban on chokeholds. His bill would also leave qualified immunity for police officers intact, as opposed to the overhaul Democrats are pushing.
House members are set to pass the Democratic bill on Thursday. McConnell has already shot down the House’s plan, saying it is an overreach and will not advance in the Senate.
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.