Preventing, Punishing Misconduct by Police: The House on Wednesday passed, 220-212, a bill (HR 1280) that would set federal rules and guidelines for policing practices at all levels of government. In addition to addressing misconduct by federal officers, the bill would use the high levels of police funding in federal programs to induce state and local reforms. The bill would prohibit chokeholds, no-knock drug warrants and racial and religious profiling; require officers to wear body cameras; end “qualified immunity” protection of abusive officers; expand Department of Justice oversight of troubled local departments; make lynching a federal crime; lower the criminal-intent standard of evidence in federal misconduct prosecutions; and establish of a public misconduct registry to keep disciplined officers from being rehired. A yes vote was to send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to the Senate.
Approving $1.9 Trillion in Virus Relief: Voting 50 for and 49 against, the Senate on March 6 approved a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package (HR 1319) that would expand unemployment benefits by $300 per week from March 14 through Sept. 6; deliver payments of $1,400 per person to individuals with incomes up to $75,000, single parents earning up to $112,500 and couples up to $150,000; increase the Child Tax Credit in a way designed to eventually cut child poverty nearly in half; deliver $350 billion to state, county, city, tribal and territorial governments; establish a $25 billion grant program for the restaurant industry; increase Affordable Care Act premium subsidies for a large number of the uninsured; fund the reopening of K-12 schools; provide $25 billion in rental aid to avert evictions and $10 billion to help landlords meet their expenses; and fund programs to vaccinate against Covid-19 and slow the spread of the virus. A yes vote was to send the bill to the House.