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Rep. Inglis (R-SC) Speech Against HR 1279

Representative Bob Inglis (R-SC): Floor Speech Opposing H.R. 1279

Mr. INGLIS of South Carolina. Madam Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.

I rise reluctantly because rarely do I oppose a majority bill. In this case, however, as I expressed in the Committee on the Judiciary, I think there are three problems with the bill: First, it federalizes State crimes. Second, it spends too much money. Third, it has mandatory minimums.

I voted for mandatory minimums a number of times in my previous time in Congress, and then I had 6 years out, six years out to talk with people in the community, to talk with judges. And during that time, I became very uncomfortable with our approach about mandatory minimums.

We have sentencing guidelines. The idea of those guidelines is to have a coherent system of sentencing, some method of figuring out how heinous one crime is compared to another. And then Congress comes along and slaps on mandatory minimums on top of that framework, doing violence to the framework of a sentencing guideline system. I think it is a mistake.

Like I say, I voted for them in the past. I will not do it again. I am inclined to say, let us have a sentencing guideline system that works. Let us not, because of some political considerations, rise and go after say crack cocaine as opposed to powdered cocaine and end up with perverse results, which is somebody rotting in jail because they smoked the wrong kind of cocaine. It is an unjust result. It is something we should resolve in this body to avoid.

I think we have an opportunity to improve this bill. I will be supporting some of the amendments the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott) will be offering. It is another opportunity to try to improve it.

I appreciate the gentleman yielding me time.


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