House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday told reporters he supports banning chokeholds, a key priority Democrats have brought forward in their police reform proposal.
His comments were a departure from other congressional Republicans, who have raised concerns about federalizing policing practices.
“There should be severe consequences,” he added of officers who perform chokeholds on people who have already been handcuffed.
But during his news conference, McCarthy also hit Democrats for announcing their policing plan without collaborating with Republicans on it first.
“Democratic leadership has kept Republicans shut out of those discussions and in turn left millions of Americans voices left out of this important conversation,” he said. McCarthy refused to detail what policy disagreements he has with the Democratic legislation, however.
“Let’s put all ideas up front, and let’s work together to produce law, not politics,” he said.
He also criticized Democrats for the “defund the police” rallying cry, which top congressional Democrats have publicly pushed back on this week. He said Republicans “stand by and support our police officers.”
Asked about renaming military bases named after confederate soldiers, McCarthy said he isn’t opposed to the idea and thinks “it would be appropriate to change some.” He said he will wait to see what legislation comes out of annual national defense authorization act negotiations.