U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) made the following statement after Senate Democrats blocked a procedural vote that would have allowed the Senate to debate the JUSTICE Act, the most sweeping policing reform legislation in 25 years:
"I am outraged that Senate Democrats are refusing to even allow us to debate the JUSTICE Act. It's even more proof that the Democrats aren't interested in policy or governing -- they are only concerned about politics. The American people want to see us debate and discuss these issues. The legislation before us today includes dozens of bipartisan priorities and is roughly 80 percent identical to the House legislation our Senate Democrat colleagues have endorsed.
"Our constituents deserve better than this. No legislation is perfect out of the gate-- that's why it gets debated and amended here on the Senate floor and amended even further in the conference negotiation process. To not even allow this process to start is the worst form of political gamesmanship."
Before legislation can be debated, the Senate must vote on the motion to proceed to the legislation. Today's vote would be cloture on motion to proceed -- a procedural step that requires 60 votes, meaning Democrat votes are necessary for passage. After cloture on the motion to proceed is approved, then the Senate would by a majority vote, approve the motion to proceed, allowing debate to begin on the underlying bill.
Before the bill could be passed, the senators would again have to hold a cloture vote (requiring 60 votes) on the JUSTICE Act, before it could be amended. By blocking cloture on motion to proceed, Senate Democrats are not only blocking debate on the policing bill, but they are blocking the ability to amend the legislation to make changes.