WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) – On Thursday, Senate Democrats stood in the halls of U.S. Capitol in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
“[It’s] the length of time that the white police officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck,” says Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
But he says a moment of solidarity is no substitute for real action.
So far, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has been silent about plans for legislation to address the racial justice and police brutality – despite senators from both parties speaking out on the floor.
“We can’t begin to make progress if the republican leader and the republican majority won’t even let us try or address these issues in a legislative manner,” says Schumer.
But Republicans are also speaking out about racial justice and police brutality, with Texas senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn joining the conversation.
“We are having some meetings behind closed doors to talk about what makes sense,” says Cornyn. “We need that in depth studying and expertise and those recommendations, so we can then task legislation that makes sense.”
But Cornyn says passing any legislation right now is too soon.
“When you have an individual, or maybe a handful of police officers that break the law and use excessive force, the place to deal with that is in court, and is prosecuting them under existing law,” says Cornyn. “Passing another law would not necessarily deter or hold them accountable.”
McConnell says he is open to new federal legislation — Schumer says Republicans’ words aren’t enough.