Helms Biden, United States Senate, Democratic Party discussed on The Daily

The Daily


On this side of the table take everything we disagree upon. Put It on this side of the table and we added up all that we agree to pump and we agreed upon ninety percent of the changes that had to take place probably ninety five percent so they they tried to pass each of the major planks of the legislation. They just do it in separate parts so having failed to do it all in one big package they try to do. These assume reforms piecemeal right and they're successful at it. They start with mandatory minimums. You get caught you go to jail. which which places a baseline amount of time that someone has to spend in prison for a truck? Crime don't allow judge's discretion to sentence people the also create a sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine which are the same drug just one is cheaper and more widely available. It meant that people people who were caught using crack the more street level version were treated more harshly by the criminal justice system. Then people who were caught using powder cocaine if if you have a piece of crack cocaine no bigger than this quarter that I'm holding in my hand one quarter of one dollars you go to jail for five years you get no probation. Judge doesn't have choice and and then they keep going. Oh number of other severe penalties. They put something in place which is called civil asset forfeiture if you are arrested and you are drug repealing the government can take everything you own and what it means is that the government can take your property if they suspect that you've used it the SPA committing a crime. Everything from your car to Your House your bank account you can take and most dramatically. We've gone from there all the way up to say under the leadership Senator Thurman and I'd like to suggest that I take some small credit for myself as well that there is now will a death penalty. They reinstated the death penalty on the federal level and the legislation specifies that it can be applied to drug trafficking. Okay if you are a major drug dealer involved in the trafficking of drugs and murder results in your activities you go to dead uh so through pieces of small legislation. They accomplished overall overhaul that they initially set out to do. And and Joe Biden has successfully changed. The Democratic Party's reputation on the issue of crime. The truth is every major crime. Bill since nineteen eighteen seventy six. That's come out of this. Congress every minor crime bill has had the name of the Democratic senator from the state the Delaware Joe Biden on that bill and has had a majority vote of the Democratic members of the United States Senate on the bill by the nineties. You have a Democratic Party. That has completely shifted on criminal justice. George Bush talks a good game. Buddy Buddy has no game plan and the biggest evidence for that shift is bill. Clinton the Democratic nominee in one thousand nine hundred ninety two. He will streamline anyone the federal government and change the way it works cut one hundred thousand bureaucrats and put one hundred thousand new police officers on the streets American cities. But will he is saying. I'm going to legislate kind of tough on crime. He's talked a lot about drugs loves but he hasn't helped people on the front line to wage war on drugs and Crime I will and those aren't just empty words hurt. It is backed by series of legislation. Helms Biden which give Democrats real credence to say that we are now the tough on crime party members of Congress. I have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you. The president of the United States wants Clinton wins members of the one hundred third congress. My fellow Americans she wants to deliver on that campaign promise of tough on crime. I am legislation violent crime and the fear it provokes are crippling our society limiting personal freedom and frame the ties combined us and so his natural partner in this is Joe Biden because Biden has had a decade's worth of practice building consensus on this issue so Clinton is tapping Biden to follow through on Clinton's campaign promise on criminal justice and that's GONNA further. The Democratic Party's agenda To be this party that is tough on crime. Exactly and what's important about this time is that Democrats are now in the majority so unlike the eighties as when Strom Thurmond leading the judiciary committee is now Biden at the how and that gives him a unique space power in which to operate he is able to implement those lessons of consensus building between Democrats and Republicans and apply them as the head of Judiciary Committee and so with that power and with those skills he is now able to craft the most significant legislation of his Senate career. The nineteen ninety-four Crime Bill. A lot of people deserve your credit for the passage of this bill and it passes but I think no one would disagree when I say that the one person most responsible responsible for the passage of this bill is senator. Bite with big bipartisan support. Joe Biden is both the most underrated legislator just later in the Senate and the most effective legislator in the Senate thank you. My mom was listening it. It provides billions in funding to increase the amount of police officers on the street to build new prisons and states ended incentivizes states to create harsher sentences on drug crimes but it does include some measures. That are more progressive. That tried to stop people from committing crimes in the first place includes money for alternative measures. That aren't prison thing that has meant more to me than anything I have done. In twenty two years in the united in States Senate it also includes violence against Women Act. Can't tell you how much truly will make a difference in the lives of women were. We're being abused and battered in this country which focuses on preventing domestic violence surges and it includes an assault weapons ban a rare rebuke to the national rifle association because no Republican president. No president that I have served within twenty two years I've been here was willing to go out on the line and say we're not going to have a bill unless there is the gun ban in the bill for saw weapons. But let's be clear while there are some progressive measures. This is as a continuation of that tough on crime approach. We saw from Biden in the eighties. There's lots of reasons I think for the American people to to breathe a little sigh of relief today. So what does this moment represent for Biden. This nineteen ninety-four bill is the political combination of what Biden set out to do in Washington. It's now that Biden has solidified himself himself as the bridge. Builder between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate particularly on criminal justice and Biden's no longer reliance on a Republican like Strom Thurmond to get this legislation done in fact Strom Thurmond votes against the nineteen ninety four crime bill citing some of those progressive measures but Biden is able to get it passed anyway because he's moved the Democratic Party along with him and because he has his own relationships with Republicans wants to be able to win over some of those votes. It's a full circle political moment. From where Biden started in the seventies. He has no longer learning from some some of the Senate wheelers and dealers of the past. This is now Biden's political bread so this is a major accomplishment and it's clear evidence that Biden can and bridge the parties in Washington. But you also told us that Biden's focus on criminal. Justice was was also about this desire to serve with the black and white communities. He's in Delaware. So did that work depends on how you slice it politically it worked. Well he keeps getting reelected and he does so with significant vacant support in both black and white communities in Delaware tons of people. Love it but that is not universal. There were definitely only people as early as the eighties. who were saying that? This criminal justice overhaul that was led by Biden with have particularly devastating effects in black communities reviving the death penalty in spending several billion dollars on prisons and longest. This is not the answer.

Coming up next