Jul 28, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Bernie Sanders says he regrets voting for Joe Biden's 1994 crime bill

On CNN's State of the Union Sunday, 2020 candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said he regrets voting for a controversial 1994 crime bill authored by former Vice President Joe Biden.

Why it matters: The bill has become a point of contention in the Democratic primaries, with certain elements of the legislation — such as the "three-strikes" provision — credited with contributing to mass incarceration among communities of color. Sen. Cory Booker is among those who have brought the bill and Biden's voting record to the forefront of the debate, condemning the 1994 legislation as "awful" despite his "love" for the former vice president.

What they're saying: When asked if he's still glad he voted for the bill, Sanders stated, "No, I’m not happy I voted for a terrible bill, but I am happy that I was honest with the people of my state."

  • Sanders says he'd campaigned for the Senate on banning assault weapons — a measure the bill included — and felt he had to vote for the bill to follow through on that promise, despite its other shortfalls.

What to watch: The second round of Democratic debates are this week, with Sanders due on stage Tuesday alongside Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Biden and Booker will have their turns Wednesday alongside Sen. Kamala Harris.

Go deeper: Democrats prepare for debate brawl with Joe Biden

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