Criminal Justice Reform Is Dead In Congress
Criminal justice reform is dead in Congress - and the War on Drugs lives on.
Even though Congress managed to pass a stopgap budget to keep the government running until December - Mitch McConnell last week made it clear that he won't be bringing criminal justice reform forward during the lame duck session of Congress.
"With regard to the criminal justice issue, as you probably probably know, it's very divisive in my conference. I've got very, very smart capable people, without regard to ideology, who have very different views on that issue. Whether we can take something up that controversial in that limited amount of time available, I doubt."
As Laura Barron-Lopez points out at the Huffington Post - the legislation is designed to address the fact that "U.S. prisons and jails currently hold 2.3 million Americans. ... [And] Fifty percent of those incarcerated at the federal level are drug offenders." A direct result of Nixon's War on Drugs.
And even though the bill has bipartisan support - the "tough on crime" Republicans in the Senate won't let this legislation be brought forward without a tedious fight - at least in part because private prison corporations spend millions bankrolling "tough on crime" Republican candidates.
But this type of politics has also simply become standard procedure for the Senate - ever since President Barack Obama took office in 2009.
Harry Reid took to the Senate floor yesterday and explained EXACTLY why Congress has been completely dysfunctional for the last 7 and a half years.
A day or two after President Obama was elected the first time, Republicans met here in Washington -- all the Republican big names -- and they came to two conclusions: Number one, Obama would not be reelected. They failed on that one, quite miserably.
But, number two, that they would oppose everything that President Obama tried to do, and they have stuck by that, without any question.
He went on to list the ways that our first African American president has also been the most disrespected president in history - and how that's played right into Donald Trump's tiny little hands.
"President Obama is the first president to be denied a hearing on his budget. He's the first president to be denied hearing on a Supreme Court nominee. President Obama is the first president asked to show his birth certificate. President Obama is the first president to face over 500 filibusters here in the Senate.
In this Republican Senate, President Obama will receive fewer nominees confirmed than any president in many, many decades. Republicans have not done their basic work of government.
They have not stood by their commitments to restore regular order or to pass a budget.
Republicans have spent their time doing everything in their power to discredit President Obama and empower Donald Trump."
Isn't Harry Reid right here? Isn't Donald Trump the perfect candidate for a party that has spent the last 8 years breaking the American government, promoting policies that disadvantage minorities - women - and working families, and giving credence to conspiracy theories peddled by racist demagogues?