Grassley: Senate ‘very close’ to deal on criminal justice reform

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday said revisions to a bipartisan bill passed by his panel last year would be unveiled “soon.” He predicted the amended package would attract enough support to reach President Obama’s desk.

“We feel that we’re very, very close,” Grassley said during a criminal justice conference at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington. “I’m confident that with these changes, my colleagues will realize that this bill is … reasonable and responsible.”
Grassley devoted a good deal of his 13-minute speech to the bipartisan cooperation on sentencing reform — and there’s little mystery why.

The Judiciary chairman is at the center of the bare-knuckle brawl over Obama’s bid to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. He has sided squarely with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in stating that the Senate should stage no hearings — let alone a floor vote — for the president’s pick.

The Democrats have pounced, accusing Republican leaders of neglecting to uphold their constitutional duties.

The charges have put GOP leaders on the defensive in a year when Democrats are eying a Senate takeover. Indeed, the Democrats’ campaign arm is running ads in the states of vulnerable Republicans that highlight the GOP’s refusal to consider Scalia’s replacement.

 

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