Some U.S. senators are planning to take a second stab at passing a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill after it stalled amid GOP infighting, The Hill reports.
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Tuesday that they will reintroduce the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. They didn’t specify a timeline. The bill, originally introduced in 2015, would cut mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenses and armed career criminals while increasing mandatory minimums for other offenses such as domestic violence.
“While the political landscape in Washington has changed, the same problems presented by the current sentencing regime remain,” Grassley said. Durbin, noting senators have been working on the issue for five years, called it the “best chance in a generation to right the wrongs of a badly broken system.”
The bill cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2015, with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a co-sponsor, predicting it could get floor time last year. The legislation hit a legislative wall amid pushback from a small yet vocal wing of Senate conservatives. House Republicans raised questions about whether they would be willing to take up the Senate bill.
The push to pass the bill could set up a potential fight with the Trump Justice Department, after the president ran as a “law and order” candidate. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was one of the leading opponents against the legislation when he was a member of the Senate.
Sessions, then a senator from Alabama, introduced legislation with GOP Sens. David Perdue (GA), Tom Cotton (AR) and Orrin Hatch (UT) that would require the administration to disclose recidivism rates for federal inmates released because of reduced sentences. The senators called the sentencing bill “dangerous for America.”