Biden Backs Bill To End Crack, Cocaine Law Disparity He Helped Make

US President Joe Biden takes part in a meeting with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 22, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden is backing a Senate Democrats bill to end the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine.

This is noteworthy, because one-time Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., once led the effort to pass legislation that made the disparity law in the first place, Axios reported Tuesday.

“The continuation of this sentencing disparity is a significant injustice in our legal system, and it is past time for it to end,” acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Regina LaBelle told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday.

“Therefore, the administration urges the swift passage of the ‘Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law Act.'”

The EQUAL Act was brought forward by Sen. Dick Durbin, R-Ill., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who argue the disparity targets the Black community.

“The crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity disproportionally impacts people of color, with 81% of those convicted of federal crack offenses from 2015 to 2019 being Black,” Durbin said. “I was proud to author the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, a bipartisan compromise which significantly reduced the disparity. We need to end this injustice once and for all by eliminating the crack-powder disparity, as my original bill would have done.”

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 was crafted by then Sen. Biden before The Fair Sentencing Act, passed in 2010, reduced the sentencing disparity from the Biden-law mandate of 100-1 to 18-1.

Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, noted his mutual interest in removing the disparity, but he also sought a discussion on how data shows crack offenders were more likely to return to prison on drug offenses and also were more likely to commit violent crimes than cocaine offenders.

Grassley rebuked Tuesday’s hearing for not addressing that data and having that discussion while Democrat committee leaders pushed their EQUAL Act bill.

Author : Eric Mack

Source : News Max : Biden Backs Bill to End Crack, Cocaine Law Disparity He Helped Make