WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and 17 Senate colleagues today introduced a broad package to clarify and strengthen violent crime laws related to attacks on law enforcement, bank robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, and other offenses. The Combating Violent and Dangerous Crime Act resolves discrepancies brought on by conflicting court decisions and clarifies Congressional intent regarding crimes of violence and their respective penalties. Despite an ongoing crime wave, no Democrats have agreed to cosponsor the fixes.
“The American people want to know that Congress is focusing on issues that matter to them, like crime, when this administration refuses to do so,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill sends the message to criminals that the era of lawlessness is over.”
“Communities across the country are seeing steep rises in attacks on police, carjackings and other violent crimes, and Americans have taken note, with crime being a leading concern in recent elections. This bill includes a number of small fixes that will go a long way in improving justice and preventing future crimes by clearing up ambiguity in existing law. Congress recently took bipartisan action to block a Washington, D.C., law to reduce penalties for violent crime amid a crime surge. I invite my fellow Democrat colleagues to build on that bipartisanship and support this important bill,” said Senator Grassley.
Cassidy and Grassley were joined by U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), John Thune (R-SD), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), James Risch (R-ID), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Lankford (R-OK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and John Boozman (R-AR) in introducing the bill.
The Combating Violent and Dangerous Crime Act would:
- Clarify that attempted bank robbery and conspiracy to commit bank robbery are punishable under the current bank robbery statute;
- Rectify conflicting circuit court decisions that have resulted in a higher burden to charge offenses like assaulting a police officer than Congress intended;
- Increase the statutory maximum penalty for carjacking and removes a duplicative intent requirement needed to charge a carjacking offense;
- Rectify conflicting circuit court decisions by clarifying that an attempt or conspiracy to commit an offence involving physical force meets the legal definition of a crime of violence;
- Outlaw the marketing of candy-flavored drugs to minors; and
- Establish a new category of violent kidnapping offences, allowing for greater penalties for violent kidnapping.
Many communities across the country continue to experience steadily increasing violent crime. Murder rates increased 30 percent in 2020 and continued climbing in 2021. Carjackings, particularly in urban areas are on the rise, with some cities recording up to 400 percent spikes. Overdose deaths surpassed 100,000 last year, with fentanyl appearing in a variety of substances, including candy-flavored drugs that are marketed to children. 2021 marked the deadliest year for law enforcement since the September 11 attacks in 2001.