Biden Goes Around Congress With Police Reform Executive Order, Blames Republicans
US President Joe Biden speaks before signing an executive order to revise use-of-force policies for federal law enforcement in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., US, on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. On the two-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, Biden signed the order that would impose new requirements on all federal law-enforcement agencies, including a restriction on no-knock warrants and a ban on choke holds. Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Joe Biden used an executive order on Wednesday to circumvent Congress and unilaterally impose police reforms, blaming Republicans who he said had “stood in the way of progress.”

“I’ve called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, but Senate Republicans have stood in the way of progress,” Biden tweeted. “That’s why this afternoon, I’m taking action and signing an Executive Order that delivers the most significant police reform in decades.”

The White House streamed the event, which included remarks from Vice President Kamala Harris.

Harris began her comments by sharing her concern for the families of those who were grieving after Tuesday’s tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and then pivoted — exactly as President Biden had done during his address the night before — to attack the “gun lobby.”

“We must have the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and pass reasonable gun safety laws,” Harris said before bringing the topic around to the executive order at hand.

Harris went on to outline the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, noting that it had passed the House under Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership and blaming Republicans in the Senate for failing to vote in favor of the measure.

She went on to clarify that the order was not intended to take the place of legislation, adding that there were still more reforms needed that it did not address.

Biden stepped up to speak after Harris, and again began his remarks with an attack on the gun lobby. He then repeated the lie he has told in the past about private ownership of cannons at the time the Second Amendment was written.

“The Second Amendment is not absolute,” Biden claimed. “When it was passed, you couldn’t own — you couldn’t own a cannon.”

Biden touted the move again after he signed the order, detailing some of the provisions that were included. “I just signed an Executive Order that delivers the most significant police reform in decades. It will increase accountability, ban chokeholds, restrict no-knock entries, and more for federal law enforcement officers — and it incentivizes state and local officers to do the same.”

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