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Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Photo: Al-Drago-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Republicans are planning to unveil a police reform bill on Wednesday that will limit the use of chokeholds and offer federal funding for deescalation training, sources familiar with the draft bill tell Axios.

The big picture: Republicans are under increasing pressure to deliver tangible change in the wake of mass outrage over the death of George Floyd. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C), who has taken the lead on drafting the bill, and other members of the Senate GOP task force see the bill as a starting point for negotiations with House Democrats.

Details: According to two sources familiar with the current measure, the Senate Republican bill would:

  • Limit the use of chokeholds by restricting access to federal grants.
  • Create a national database of officers who use excessive force.
  • Make federal lynching a hate crime. (Two sources familiar with the task force's talks say Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) still has issues with this provision, though it's unclear whether he will oppose the bill in its entirety.)
  • Provide a new funding stream for jurisdictions to purchase and implement body cameras.
  • Offer new funding to jurisdictions that utilize de-escalation and duty-to-intervene training.

As of now, “qualified immunity” — which protects officers from lawsuits against their actions in the field — is not part of the bill.

  • The White House has said the issue is a red line, though Scott is pursuing a “decertification” process for officers who knowingly violate the law.
  • Chokeholds were originally considered a sticking point as well, but it's now clear that restricting their use will be part of the bill. "I haven't heard any pushback from the White House on chokeholds," one of the sources said.

State of play: So far, the bill has widespread support among the Senate Republican conference. But the bigger issue will be finding areas of compromise with House and Senate Democrats' Justice in Policing Act, which is far more expansive.

  • One source said the task force is already having conversations with House Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus about the bill, but they expect negotiations to begin in earnest once the Senate GOP bill is introduced.
  • "Everyone will put their chips on the table, then there will be some sort of [negotiations] between the White House, Senate and House to find common ground," the source told Axios.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House Democrats and Trump admin strike deal to avert government shutdown

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The House on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 359-57.

Why it matters: The bill's passage comes shortly after House Democrats and the Trump administration struck an agreement on the short-term legislation, averting the threat of a government shutdown when funding expires in eight days.

Biden campaign plans travel around competitive Senate races

Joe Biden elbow-bumping a worker during a campaign stop in Wisconsin. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign is storming states with competitive Senate races this week to help boost Democratic candidates in the run-up to the election.

Why it matters: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death is galvanizing Democrats to fight harder for control of the Senate with less than two months before Election Day.

Meadows: Trump will not meet with Lagoa in Florida

Lagoa and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tells Axios that President Trump will not meet with shortlisted Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa during a campaign visit to Florida on Friday, and that any talks with court candidates will take place in Washington.

The backstory: Axios reported on Tuesday that Trump would meet with Lagoa during his Friday campaign trip, citing two sources familiar with his plans. When we initially approached the White House with this reporting, officials declined to comment.

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