July 25, 2018
An interesting political pitch for the FIRST STEP Act
Star Parker, a conservative commentator who is founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), has this notable new Townhall commentary under the headline "Senate Should Pass the First Step Act." In addition to praising the substantive provisions of the FIRST STEP Act, the commentary makes some interesting political points in an effort to convince GOP leaders in the Senate to move forward with the bill. Here are excerpts:
You would think that Senate Republicans would be rolling out the red carpet for the First Step Act, particularly given that it's an initiative that started in the White House. Unfortunately, that's not happening. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is not moving to embrace this bill because it doesn't including sentencing reform.
With all due respect to Senator Grassley, he's making a mistake. And as a result he's hurting his party and his country.
In all my years working in public policy, one lesson I have learned is that it is an invitation for failure to try to deal with a complex issue, one having a number of separate components, in a single huge, complicated piece of legislation. The result is either no action or a sweeping -- and bad -- law....
Everyone agrees we have a criminal justice problem. But like so many other areas, there is a woeful lack of agreement about what is causing the problem and how to solve it. And this brings us back to the incredible bipartisan passage of the First Step Act.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senator Grassley should see this as an opportunity for the Republican-controlled Congress to show it can act decisively on a major national problem. Holding up prison reform to add on the complex issue of sentencing reform will result in what I said above: either nothing will happen or we'll get one big unworkable bill.
Furthermore, prison reform has major racial implications. Blacks, who constitute 12 percent of the population, make up 33 percent of the prison population. Hispanics, who constitute 16 percent of the general population, make up 23 percent of the prison population.
It's no accident that the NAACP opposes the bill. Or that Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder wrote in The Washington Post against it. Or that two very politically ambitious black Democratic Senators, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, oppose it.
Passage of the First Step Act would show that Republicans care and can help a large part of minority America in distress. Black Democrats don't want this to happen.
Senate Republicans must keep an eye on retaining control in November. They should get on the same page with the White House and the House and pass the First Step Act.
Some of many prior related posts:
- House Judiciary Committee approves FIRST STEP Act by a vote of 25-5 after lots of discussion of amendments
- FIRST STEP Act passes US House of Representatives by vote of 360-59(!), but its fate in Senate remains uncertain
- Interesting new US Sentencing Commission analysis of possible impact of Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017
- On eve of House Committee consideration, distinct advice from criminal justice reform groups on latest federal prison reform proposal
- Five prominent congressional Democrats write in opposition to federal statutory prison reform without broader sentencing reform
- The latest political back and forth, on both sides of the aisle, as federal prison reform efforts gain momentum
- Prez Trump pledges to sign prison reform that will be "best in the world"
- On eve of planned House vote on FIRST STEP Act, NY Times editorial misguidedly asserts a "partial bill could end up being worse than nothing"
- An (encouraging?) update on the state of federal criminal justice reform in US Senate
- Disconcerting update on Senate's (lack of) progress on federal statutory criminal justice reforms
- Large group of former prisoners urge Senate leaders to move forward with FIRST STEP Act
- Intriguing comments about the politics and persons around FIRST STEP Act and federal criminal justice reform efforts
- Another attack on the FIRST STEP Act failing to acknowledge modern political realities
July 25, 2018 at 04:50 PM | Permalink
"Passage of the First Step Act would show that Republicans care and can help a large part of minority America in distress. Black Democrats don't want this to happen."
Oh come on does she really think she is fooling anyone with that shtick?
Posted by: Daniel | Jul 25, 2018 5:34:42 PM
So we have a problem we don't understand how it came about and we don't know how to fix it but we need to pass a feel-good bill.
Posted by: John Neff | Jul 25, 2018 7:40:56 PM
Same old stuff, politicians dont want to look like they are weak on crime. Its all about getting re-elected and getting kick backs from the lobbyist companys.
Grassley thinks if they pass this bill, they will be done with crime bills totally. After all, they did give a little. Thats what I think.
If a few Congress man had some relatives get a ridiculously long sentence, then they would have a reason to soften up.
Posted by: MidWestGuy | Jul 25, 2018 10:50:57 PM
I am sorry:
Center for Urban Renewal and Education
1317 F Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20004
Posted by: David Behar | Jul 26, 2018 12:37:55 AM