Senate

Durbin: McConnell should move criminal justice bill next month

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is pressing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring up a stalled criminal justice reform bill, saying it’s time for the Republican leader to “step up.” 
 
“I want to tell you Chuck Grassley has worked hard on this. John Cornyn has worked hard on this,” he told reporters Tuesday. “They have really an audience of one: Mitch McConnell. It’s time for him to step up and let us bring this bipartisan historic bill to the floor, and I hope that he’ll agree to do it as soon as we return.” 
 
{mosads}Durbin’s comments come after Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters that more supporters for the Senate bill could be announced this week, according to The Huffington Post. Senators are poised to leave town at the end of the week, and won’t be back in Washington until May 9. 
 
Lawmakers have been locked in months of negotiations on the Senate bill—which passed out of the Judiciary Committee in October—as they’ve sought to secure more Republican support.
 
Conservative senators argued earlier this year that the legislation would increase the crime rate and release offenders out of jail that could go on to commit further crimes. 
 
But Republicans have been able to slowly win over supporters. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who is facing a tough reelection bid, announced his support for the bill earlier this month. 
 
Asked Tuesday if he believes the legislation currently has 60 votes—the amount needed to get over procedural hurdles—Durbin replied “yes, I do.” 
 
Despite bipartisan backing for the bill, most of that support would likely come from Democrats. The move could threaten to underscore GOP division while Senate Republicans are defending 24 seats in November. 
Tags Chuck Grassley Dick Durbin John Cornyn Mark Kirk Mitch McConnell

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