U.S. Sen. John Barrasso on Monday expressed cautious optimism for passage of federal police reform legislation if politics don’t get in the way.
Appearing on CNN, Barrasso told John King that approval for bipartisan legislation to enact police reform looks promising because the House bill and the Senate bill agree on so much.
“There is about a 70% overlap and agreement on these bills,” Barrasso said. “This is a good place to start.”
“With body cameras on officers, with doing the sorts of things that eliminate bad police officers, and giving the good cops the resources that they need, the accountability, the training, all of sorts of things that you have better results on the streets,” he said.
One sticking point has been the issue of qualified immunity — a legal doctrine created through court rulings that shields police officers from civil lawsuits.
When asked if that issue could be on the table, Barrasso punted while signaling his distaste for it.
“That’s a legal term and it has to do with how many police officers we can sue. And I want to find out how many people we can save in terms of saving their lives,” he said.
Still, the senator said he was optimistic because of bipartisan efforts made recently with the CARES Act for the coronavirus epidemic and the Great American Outdoors Act to support deferred maintenance projects on federal lands.
He also said there is a real spirit of bipartisanship in the weekly Senate prayer breakfast he attends.
“We have a history of doing bipartisan legislation,” Barrasso said. “We need to make sure the Democrats don’t filibuster and Chuck Schumer has been threatening that.”