Republicans Signal Narrow Policing Overhaul as Trump Signs Limited Order

Later, at a Senate hearing, Republicans and Democrats grappled with the scope of the changes.

Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, pressed witnesses on their assertions about systemic racism in policing, asking at one point, “Do you believe that basically all Americans are racist?”

Vanita Gupta, the president and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, responded, “I think we all have implicit bias and racial bias, yes I do,” eliciting a “wow” from Mr. Cornyn.

“I think that we are an amazing country that strives to be better every single day,” Ms. Gupta added. “It’s why I went into government, to make a more perfect union.”

Mr. Cornyn replied, “You lost me when you want to take the acts of a few misguided, perhaps malicious, individuals and ascribe that to all Americans.”

In other moments, Republicans appeared to be weighing how far to go with their proposal.

S. Lee Merritt, a lawyer for the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man from Georgia who was killed while jogging after being chased by armed white residents, explained the challenges faced by the families he represents because of qualified immunity, which shields police officers from lawsuits.

The bill proposed by Democrats would change the doctrine, but Mr. Scott has ruled out doing so. After Mr. Merritt’s testimony, Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, urged Republicans to consider modifications to guarantee consequences for misconduct.

“I wrote it down,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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