Will Federal Sentencing Reform Be A “Missed Opportunity” Before Election?

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The push for overhauling federal sentencing laws is stalled as key senators hold slim hopes of passing anything before the end of year, reports Real Clear Politics.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.), who played a key role in negotiating the compromise that ultimately became the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, said, “I don’t see how it gets done before” July 15, Grassley said, alluding to the day the senators leave Washington until after Labor Day. “It’s a real big disappointment to me because we’ve worked so hard to do what the leadership wanted to get out more Republican sponsors.”

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois (D-Il.), called it a “missed opportunity.”

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Republican whip and a lead sponsor of the measure, said he’d hoped the House would move more quickly and provide momentum in the Senate, but “apparently we ran out of time.” Some sponsors of the bill still expressed optimism that it could pass during the brief session before the November elections. Durbin blamed Majority Leader McConnell for the lack of movement, saying that McConnell had “five Republican senators vocally, publicly opposing it, and he didn’t want to take them on.” The House has passed nine bills dealing with sentencing and prison reform, over-criminalization and asset forfeiture. The Judiciary Committee is considering four remaining justice reform bills, which supporters hope will pass there and come to the House floor as a package. It’s uncertain whether that will happen before the summer recess.

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