June 23, 2020
WASHINGTON – At the weekly Republican leadership press conference today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) slammed Senate Democrats for threatening to block debate on the JUSTICE Act. Blunt noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she would support bringing the House and Senate bills to conference, which would allow leaders from both parties and chambers of Congress to work together on bipartisan police reform legislation.
Following are Blunt’s Remarks:
“Well, let’s talk a little more about how a bill becomes a law. Speaker Pelosi says she would like to take their bill to conference, well you can’t go to conference unless we have a bill. I’ve heard our friends on the other side say, ‘80% of what I’d like to do is in that bill’, they don’t even say, ‘I’m for 80% of that bill’, they say ‘that bill has 80% of what I’d like to do’.
“Most people standing here, at this news event today, have never heard something that the Members of Congress used to say all the time, ‘I’m going to vote for this bill today, and I’m going to work to make it better in conference’. That’s the way the legislative process is supposed to work. If 80% of what you want is in a bill that can pass, you go to conference and hope maybe 90% of what you want is your second vote.
“You know, in big pieces of legislation, we always used to have to vote twice. You would vote once on the House or Senate version of the bill and then you would vote again on the conference part of the bill. Everybody here that took a civics class remembers from the civics class that the House passes a bill, the Senate passes a bill, they go to conference, both sides then vote again on the conference report, and it goes to the president.
“We’ve gotten so bogged down in making political points that nobody wants to make a law. We’ve gotten so bogged down in getting your way that nobody wants to have the compromise that’s the essence of democracy. One side has a bill they’re proud of, we’ve got a bill we’re proud of, that can go to conference and that can go to the president’s desk. Or, the Democrats in the Senate can just say ‘no we don’t want to legislate anymore, we’d rather talk about this issue than solve this issue, we’d rather end the discussion than advance the discussion.’
“There are plenty of places in the future to say, ‘no, I’m not for the final product, I’m not for voting on the Senate bill after debate,’ or, ‘I’m not for voting on the bill that comes out of conference.’ There are plenty of times to do that and, frankly, that is our job.”