House to Vote on Sentence Reform, Ryan Says – Update for July 17, 2016

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SR160509House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said last Friday that the House will consider a package of six criminal justice reform bills – including the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (H.R. 3713) in September.

In an interview on National Public Radio, Ryan promised to give floor time to a package of criminal justice bills advanced by the House Judiciary Committee. The House of Representatives adjourned on Friday until after Labor Day, to give members time to campaign for re-election.

House passage may put pressure on the Senate to vote on S. 2123, its own version of the SRCA. Getting that measure passed is going to be a taller order, given Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal thus far to commit to bringing the measure up for a vote.

Ironically, Speaker Ryan’s surprise announcement came only a day after Families Against Mandatory Minimums candidly admitted that while “the Sentencing Reform Act (H.R. 3713) and the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 2123) made it past the committee review process, they are not at all likely to get voted on or passed this year. There were some good reforms in those bills, but also some bad sentencing changes that would have made things worse. FAMM had been hoping for chances to improve those bills and has been asking Congress to do more. We won’t stop doing that, and we won’t stop working while Congress is away.”

The House version of SRCA picked up two additional sponsors last week, Jim McDermott (D-Washington) and Rob Blum (R-Iowa), bring the number of co-sponsors to 73.  S. 2123 also picked up a pair of additional co-sponsors, Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada). That bill now has 36 co-sponsors.


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