Posted on February 5, 2023

Biden, Black Caucus Agree on Path Forward on Police Reform

Chris Megerian et al., Associated Press, February 3, 2023

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus left a meeting Thursday with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris with an agreement on how to address the issue of policing in America after the recent killing of Tyre Nichols.

“We have agreement on how we will continue to work forward both from a legislative standpoint as well as executive and community-based solutions, but the focus will always be on public safety,” Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada, the chairman of the Black Caucus, told reporters later Thursday.

Also at the White House were Sens. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Cory Booker of New Jersey — two of the three Black senators — and Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Joe Neguse of Colorado.

The group of Black lawmakers did not disclose details about the agreement made in the room but said there will be more information about the “legislative package” in the days ahead.

“This is going to require all of us, including Republicans, to get across the finish line,” Horsford said.

Before the meeting began, Biden said his hope was that “this dark memory spurs some action that we’ve all been fighting for.”

At Nichols’ funeral Wednesday in Memphis, Tennessee, Harris said the White House would settle for nothing less than ambitious legislation to address police brutality.

“We should not delay. And we will not be denied,” Harris said. “It is nonnegotiable.”

Bipartisan efforts in Congress to reach an agreement on policing legislation stalled more than a year ago, and Biden ended up signing an executive order named for George Floyd, whose murder at the hands of Minneapolis police set off nationwide protests nearly three years ago.

Even some political allies of Biden are frustrated with what they view as his excess caution on the issue.

“I think the president is missing the opportunity to be a historic president when it comes to the social issues that continue to plague our country,” said Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y. “That’s what we need.”


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Thursday signaled an openness to discussing the issue.


Biden has embraced calls for overhauling how police do their jobs while also emphasizing his longtime support for law enforcement and rejecting proposals to cut money. He was elected with strong support from Black voters and is now preparing a reelection campaign for 2024.