U.S. Democrats voted to block a police reform bill proposed by Republicans in the Senate, arguing that it fell short of the more expansive changes needed to rein in excessive force and discrimination.
The top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, had called the proposal a “bad bill.” Republicans shot back, saying that refusing to even debate the bill was killing a chance for any reforms, in a time when there is bipartisan support for some measures.
Meanwhile, in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives the centre-left party is expected to soon push through its own proposal for police reforms, which is more wide-reaching, including changes to legal immunity for abusive police and raising the standard for the use of force.
The two chambers of Congress will have to find a way to reconcile or risk the issue becoming part of the political campaigns.
The Democrats seem keen to push for a more expansive bill and otherwise blame Republicans for a failure, even if their proposal is unlikely to satisfy many of the protesters who have led recent demonstrations.
Protests against police brutality and racism have rocked the country for a month, after the death in custody of a black man in Minnesota, which was captured on camera, raising issues of systemic problems.