Under pressure from a bipartisan coalition of criminal justice reform advocates, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday he is willing to consider some cuts to federal mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, but that across-the-board cuts were off the table.
Speaking at a press conference at the National Press Club, Grassley addressed questions of whether he would use his power as Senate Judiciary chairman to block sentencing reform bills, such as the Smarter Sentencing Act.
“Over the last several months I’ve been accused of being a road block to sentencing reform,” Grassley said in his prepared remarks. “Let me be clear. I have told my colleagues and the White House that I’d like to sit down and talk about how we can move forward. I’m ready to address some of these issues. What I’m not willing to do is an across the board cut in mandatory minimums. I agree that some should be cut. But, I also think that some should be raised. “
“With a heroin epidemic strangling some of our communities, and white collar criminals getting paltry sentences, the last thing we need is to take away a tool that law enforcement and prosecutors use to get the bad guys,” Grassley continued.