Real change in police procedures and criminal justice will come from discussion, not by vandalizing statues or inciting violence in the streets, Sen. Joni Ernst said Tuesday.
"We hear over and over again the calls to defund the police," the Iowa Republican said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "That's a very liberal talking point ... a very provocative statement."
But real solutions come from "peaceful dialogue," and working through issues, Ernst said.
Ernst is part of a group of Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., that have presented the Justice Act, but Senate Democrats have written a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling the measure "not salvageable," meaning they'll fight to keep it from getting to the floor for debate. She called that move "unbelievable."
"Our Iowa legislature passed police reform a number of weeks ago and they did it bipartisan," said Ernst. "It was unanimously supported through the vote and signed into law by the governor. That's what we expect to see here and at large in part, the Justice Act that is being presented is supported by Democrats."
She said that the bill focuses on de-escalation efforts, data sharing, education and more that would allow police to do their jobs while maintaining public safety.
"Why would the Democrats not want that?" said Ernst. "We are in an election year, and the Democrats don't want solutions by this Republican-led Senate. It's very provocative but why would they not come together when we have an 80% or better solution for police reform?"
Meanwhile, by blocking the bill, Democrats are "standing in the way of progress, and certainly, we want to work through this," said Ernst. "We want to come together; we want to do the right thing for the nation."
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