Love: Criminal Justice Reform Not Just Fiscal Issue, But 'Moral Issue'

The lawmakers pointed out that that since 1980, federal prison costs have gone from $1 billion to almost $7 billion.

“I want you to know that as a parent this is not just about a fiscal issue for me. This is a moral issue,” said freshman Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), a co-sponsor of the bill. “I was sent here by Utah’s fourth congressional district to not just promote fiscal responsibility but personal responsibility, to allow people to pull themselves up if they choose and to promote and preserve the Constitution of the United States.”

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), a co-sponsor, said he has not seen such a diverse group of organizations unite on Capitol Hill.

“I’ve never been in a press conference like this where I’ve seen the diverse level of support. If we think about it, we’ve got the ACLU and we have a representative from the Koch Industries and the Koch Brothers. If you think of those as two gate posts, that’s an awfully wide gate,” he said to laughter from the attendees. “That’s important because I’ve learned that even though you may have a good piece of legislation, getting it through the House floor, we all know how Washington works, it’s extraordinarily difficult.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) reminded supporters of criminal justice reform that a piece of legislation is not enough.

“Come on now, it’s not enough. Bobby Scott will tell you that we all need to be pushing hard on this and giving it everything we’ve got. This is our moment,” he said.