Sentencing Bill Stalls From Lack Of Support From Senators Like Ayotte


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) most likely won't bring a major sentencing-reform bill to the floor for a vote this session, reports The Atlantic. That’s because the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act would prove an uncomfortable vote for some of McConnell's members, like Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). Ayotte has introduced legislation to increase prison terms for fentanyl distribution—pushing in the opposite direction of the sentencing-reform bill. Ayotte won’t comment on the sentencing reform bill.

Some of the bill's supporters see her foot-dragging as a problem. “If it wasn't opposed by some like Ayotte, then we'd have an easier time convincing McConnell,” an aide to one champion of the legislation said. Thiis is not to suggest that Ayotte is single-handedly holding up this train. Even the most popular legislation presents multiple challenges. McConnell has told the bill's supporters that, before he'll bring it to a vote, they need to make it harder for critics to caricature. He worries, specifically, that the retroactive nature of the bill, which would shorten sentences for some current inmates, could lead to supporters being accused of releasing a horde of dangerous criminals back into society.

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