President Barack Obama signed sweeping reforms to federal crack cocaine sentencing laws , reducing harsh sentences for crack violations and repealing the five-year mandatory minimum for simple possession of crack cocaine. The bipartisan bill received support from Sens. Richard Durbin, Jeff Sessions, Tom Coburn, and Reps. James E. Clyburn, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Dan Lungren and F. James Sensenbrenner.
Meanwhile, the new law drops the crack cocaine verses powder cocaine disparity from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1. Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott contends there is still a Congressional push to bring the sentencing disparity down to a “one to one” ratio. That as Congressman Scott says there is “no pharmacological” difference in crack cocaine verses powder cocaine.
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about the legislation in his daily press briefing and responded:
MR. GIBBS: Well, let me see if there’s any guidance on it. I will say this, April, I think the signing of today’s bill into law represents the hard work of Democrats and Republicans coming — this is a good example — of coming together and making progress on something that people had identified as a glaring blight on the law.
Look, I think if you look at the people that were there at that signing, they’re not of the political persuasions that either always or even part of the time agree. I think that demonstrates the, as I said, the glaring nature of what these penalties had — the glaring nature of what these penalties had done to people and how unfair they were. And I think the President was proud to sign that into law.