The proposed federal Second Chance Act, which would authorize funds for programs that help released prisoners re-enter society, was pulled from the House of Representatives calendar this week after opposition emerged from some Republicans. The bill had been scheduled for a vote on the “suspension calendar,” which limits debate on measures with little opposition. The Democratic leadership pulled it after Republican leaders suggested that there was serious opposition. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), for example, objected on the grounds that the bill, “while well intentioned, provides better benefits to criminals than are provided to our U.S. service members when they come home.”
Pat Nolan of the Prison Fellowship, a Republican former California legislator who supports the Second Chance Act, said he believed that “the Republican Leadership staff completely misread the opinion of the Republican members and overreacted when they were contacted by a few, very vocal, opponents within the Republican conference.” Delaying a vote, Nolan said, “is distressing and puzzling because the bill has strong support among conservative Republicans” as well as many Democrats.