Tom Cotton Screwing Up The One Good Thing Congress Might've Done This Year
Wow, it looks like Congress is actually going to accomplish something for once, on prison reform! Surely, no one can screw this one up for us, right? Ohhh, you sweet summer child.
[contextly_sidebar id="l8Nf0YK18yMXM3vkZw0pMaKFzzLefwjB"]So who's here to rain on our happy nice time parade? Why, it's Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Wonkette's 2015 Legislative Shitmuffin of the Year, who continues to vex the entire country by wasting perfectly good oxygen. Senator Treason, whom you may remember from that time he was very publicly a traitor to his country, thinks prison reform is bad, and he is trying to kill it.
Just as a refresher, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, costing us $74 billion in 2007. In 2011, nearly half of all prisoners were in jail on drug charges, which is totally fair, since smoking weed is clearly way worse than rape and murder. It's gotten to the point where lawmakers from both sides of the aisle -- like Democratic Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy and Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee, whose only common ground is the staggering whiteness of their respective home states -- have looked at the situation and concluded, "Damn, this is some fucked up shit right here."
So last fall, an actual, real reform measure made it through the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support. At this point, seeing Congress accomplish anything turns the average American into the Double Rainbow guy, so the bipartisan committee passage was a thing to be celebrated. Cotton, however, wants it dead, because he doesn't want to see "the release of thousands of violent felons." This would be a bad thing, if true!
It is not true. It is, in fact, the opposite of true:
“It’s not true,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) of opponents’ insistence that violent criminals could be freed under the sentencing reforms. “I’d say, please read the bill and listen to people like [former Attorney General] Michael Mukasey, who makes the point, which is a critical point, that there’s no get-out-of-jail-free card.”
Yeah, but you can't trust the word of noted liberal pinko communist Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who -- wait, John Cornyn was ranked as the second-most Conservative Senator in 2012? Well, what about bill sponsor Mike Lee? He's probably a bleeding heart progressive Obama-lovin' -- what? A study from 2015 declared him the most ideologically extreme member of the Senate? Well, shit.
Cotton has also rallied some fellow senators like Jim Risch of Idaho and David Perdue of Georgia against the bill, and because of these grumblings, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-His Shell) has declared a breather on the legislation in order to give senators who weren't on the Judiciary Committee time to read up on it. Since budget negotiations and re-election campaigns are just around the corner and senators have the attention span of a coked-out squirrel, this probably means the bill won't actually make it to the Senate floor this year.
On the upside, President Obama has just banned solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons, on account of it being a hideously retrograde example of cruel and unusual punishment. While this is a great thing, we are actually in favor of solitary confinement in rare cases, such as that of Sen. Tom Cotton.