The two men don't share much politically, but they do agree on this: Mandatory minimum sentencing has to go
The poster boy liberal and the face of libertarianism—together at last.
The staffs for Sens. Rand Paul and Cory Booker officially confirmed to Vocativ on Friday that they are planning to work together on new legislation to reform drug laws. Murmurings of a partnership began on New Year’s Day, when the Star-Ledger reported on a cheery Twitter exchange between the two senators.
Sens. Paul and Booker are unlikely bedfellows. Paul, for example, has proposed blocking funding for food stamps, while Booker, a year ago, spent a week living on them to “reduce the stigma” for those enrolled in the program.
Tweet at us: Do drug laws need to be reformed?
It’s not the first time Paul has tackled drug laws. Last March, he and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act. It would allow judges to use their own discretion when sentencing certain federal crimes, like drug offenses, rather than complying with mandatory minimums, which tend to be disproportionately harsh and lead to overcrowding in prisons.
Booker and Paul share the view that the 1970s-era War on Drugs is a failed policy that has mainly functioned as a black hole for taxpayer money. What shape their new bill will take is unclear, but it could involve reducing criminal penalties for drug possession or, in the case of marijuana, eliminating jail time as a punishment.