As president, Joe Biden will seek to remedy a major public policy crisis he helped create as a U.S. senator.
"The Biden administration plans to endorse legislation that would end the disparity in sentences between crack and powder cocaine offenses that President Biden helped create decades ago, according to people with knowledge of the situation — a step that highlights how Biden's attitudes on drug laws have shifted over his long tenure in elected office," The Washington Post reported Monday. "At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, Regina LaBelle, the acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, plans to express the administration's support for the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law Act, or Equal Act. The legislation, which sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), would eliminate the sentencing disparity and give people who were convicted or sentenced for a federal cocaine offense a resentencing."
"For Biden, supporting the bill a follow-though on a campaign promise and a step toward fulfilling it. As a candidate for president in 2020, Biden pledged to support eliminating the sentencing disparity, which critics have said unfairly hurts African Americans. But he did not always feel that way. As a senator in 1986, Biden crafted the bill that enacted steep differences in sentencing. He disavowed it 16 years later," the newspaper noted. "Biden's shift reflects broader changes in the way elected officials have talked about drug offenses and criminal justice over time. The movement has been especially apparent in the Democratic Party. During the 2020 presidential primary, Biden faced sharp criticism from some activists for spearheading a 1994 crime law that has come to be seen broadly in the party as overly harsh, particularly to communities of color."
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