U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, the lead negotiator for Republicans on police reform talks, dismissed reporting Thursday that suggests the bipartisan effort is on the verge of collapse. And he had the receipts to prove it.
More specifically, he had a photo.
In the picture Scott shared on Twitter Thursday afternoon, an exhausted Scott can be seen sitting on the floor of his Washington office, poring over pages of documents. To his right, his chief of staff, Jennifer DeCasper, is doing the same. And in a chair across from Scott is U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, who is leaning forward, glasses resting on his nose, as he reviews a stack of pages himself.
“Looking pretty lively for a bill on ‘life support,’” the South Carolina Republican tweeted, adding an eyeball emoji at the end for effect.
It came hours after Punchbowl News reported in its morning newsletter that sources tell them police reform talks are “on the verge of life support, and the ventilator isn’t working.”
Scott’s office told The State newspaper that the photo was taken on Wednesday night. Punchbowl News also reported Booker and Scott haven’t made any breakthroughs on the police reform package, despite positive public comments from both men that suggest otherwise.
A senate aid familiar with the negotiations told The State that “ongoing, in-depth, and productive conversions and are still optimistic” about the bill’s chances.
Later on Thursday, Scott told CNN he is meeting with Booker regularly on police reform talks but, he added, “If we’re having the same conversations next week, then it’s dead.”
Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, is one of three lawmakers trying to hammer out a bipartisan police reform package before the August recess. The other negotiators are U.S Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., and Booker.
Scott is the only Republican involved in the effort.
Last month, the three lawmakers released a joint statement saying they had reached an agreement on the framework of the bill.
“There is still more work to be done on the final bill, and nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. Over the next few weeks we look forward to continuing our work toward getting a finalized proposal across the finish line,” the statement said at the time.
So far, no legislative text has been finalized.
Last week, Scott told Axios he wanted to see a bipartisan police bill passed by the end of July.
In the summer of 2020, Scott was responsible for drafting the Justice Act, the GOP’s police reform bill. It ultimately failed to get the 60 votes necessary in the Senate when a majority of Democrats voted against the measure.
When the measure failed, a visibly frustrated and emotional Scott tore into Democrats in a 33-minute, 51-second speech.
“This is my issue,” Scott said in his speech. “This is an issue for every poor kid growing up in every poor neighborhood in this nation who feels like when I leave my home for a jog, I might not come back.”