Lofgren Statement on HR 6691

September 6, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) issued the following statement on H.R. 6691:

“The Supreme Court in Dimaya v. Sessions invalidated 18 U.S.C. Sec. 16(b) and called on Congress to clarify the meaning of that provision.  We must heed the Court’s direction and provide a legislative solution that adequately defines “crime of violence.”  But H.R. 6691 is not the solution.

“H.R. 6691 would have far reaching impacts on our criminal justice system.  It would expand the number of juveniles who are prosecuted as adults in federal court, it would increase federal prison sentences and hamstring criminal justice reform efforts to broaden rehabilitative programs.  H.R. 6691 has not received any Committee action, nor have House Republicans provided sufficient time for criminal legal experts to weigh in on the impacts to our criminal justice system.  

“Under H.R. 6691, a passenger who flies on United Airlines and is perceived to have interfered with the flight crew, could be considered to have committed a “crime of violence.”  A driver who fails to immediately stop for a law enforcement official could be considered to have committed a “crime of violence.”  A shopper who engages in the act of shoplifting could be considered to have committed a “crime of violence.”  Common sense tells us that these crimes, while unlawful, are not violent offenses that warrant harsh penalties.

“There are aspects of this legislation that are meritorious – for example, enumerating aggravated sexual abuse as a “violent crime” – but its essential flaw is that H.R. 6691 is a rushed attempt to push forward an imperfect and inadequate solution to a real problem. Rather than rushing this bill to the House floor for a vote, the House Judiciary Committee should hold hearings on Dimaya v. Sessions and provide Committee members with the opportunity to consider legislation in a Committee markup.  Through this regular order process, I have confidence we can work together on a solution that makes sense.

“For these reasons, I will vote “present” on this bill and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”

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