President Joe Biden has had a terrible few months, with numerous aspects of his agenda getting blocked in congress by even members of his own party. Perhaps needing to show he has accomplished something ahead of the midterm elections, it now appears Biden will sign some executive actions on police reform.
CNBC News reported that the president may be planning to sign the executive actions as early as this month, in preparation for February being Black History Month. The outlet noted that the executive actions would follow Biden and Democrats’ failed attempt to federalize voting laws, which they refer to as “voting rights.”
“The focus on police reforms is part of what appears to be a last-ditch effort by the Biden administration to take action on some of the president’s signature initiatives in the run-up to his State of the Union Address on March 1. In addition to voting rights and policing, the White House and congressional Democrats are considering ways to resurrect Biden’s Build Back Better package, either by paring back the legislation or separating it into two bills, according to three sources familiar with the discussions,” CNBC reported.
It is unclear what would be in Biden’s executive actions or how they would differ from what the Department of Justice did last year in further restricting the use of chokeholds and “no-knock” warrants based on some high-profile cases.
A chokehold was used on Eric Gardner after he refused arrest for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Gardner said he couldn’t breathe 11 times before losing consciousness and was pronounced dead at a hospital about an hour later.
The details surrounding the DOJ’s decision to restrict “no-knock” warrants is murkier, as the state attorney general and police have denied that they instituted a “no-knock” warrant when attempting to find Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend. Taylor was killed during that search.
Biden’s planned executive actions appear to be a cynical attempt to woo back black voters as the president’s favorability rating continues to crumble. Last year, the House passed a police reform bill named after George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers in May 2020. The bill stalled in the Senate when a bipartisan group of senators could not come to an agreement.
“I still hope to sign into law a comprehensive and meaningful police reform bill that honors the name and memory of George Floyd, because we need legislation to ensure lasting and meaningful change,” Biden said at the time. “But this moment demands action, and we cannot allow those who stand in the way of progress to prevent us from answering the call. That is why my Administration has already taken important steps, with the Justice Department announcing new policies on chokeholds, no-knock warrants, and body cameras.”
As Fox News noted, Biden’s proposed executive actions also come after Republicans and some Democrats panned the president’s recent “racially-charged speech urging Senate Democrats to suspend the filibuster to push through his party’s legislation that would overhaul federal election laws.”