Twenty-seven senators want President Obama to block federal agencies and contractors from asking job applicants about prior criminal convictions.
The senators, including 26 Democrats and presidential hopeful Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders press secretary leaves campaign RNC strategizes against Clinton VP contenders Dems celebrate anniversary of gay marriage ruling MORE (I-Vt.), want Obama to take executive action to "ban the box," referring to a question on job applications that asks if an applicant has any convictions.
"We ask you to require federal contractors and agencies to refrain from asking job applicants about prior convictions until later in the hiring process," they said in a letter to Obama on Monday. "This policy would eliminate unnecessary barriers to employment for all job seekers and would give individuals re-entering the workforce the opportunity to apply for work based on their current merits rather than past wrong-doings."
In addition to Sanders, the letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownRNC strategizes against Clinton VP contenders Senate Dem won't rule out blocking Puerto Rico debt relief Dodd and Frank: Judge was wrong in Dodd-Frank ruling MORE (Ohio), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's 12:30 Report Hacked computer network mysteriously back online Marketplace for hacked-server sales may be much bigger than reported MORE (R.I.), Chris MurphyChris MurphyMeet the man who sparked the Democratic revolt on guns The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP wins congressional baseball game, ending 7-year losing streak MORE (Conn.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsOvernight Defense: GOP blasts latest Gitmo transfer | Boeing defends Iran Air deal Key Dem: US-Iran relations may get worse before they get better The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Del.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinSupreme Court limps to finish Senate Dems link court fight to Congressional Baseball Game Dems: Immigration decision will 'energize' Hispanic voters MORE (Ill.), Al FrankenAl FrankenAl Franken says he would be Clinton's vice president if asked Poll: Sanders, Rubio most popular VP picks Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate MORE (Minn.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Healthcare: GOP plan marks new phase in ObamaCare fight Overnight Healthcare: Dems trying to force Zika vote | White House tries to stall opioids bill for $$ | Free Lyft rides from ObamaCare Overnight Healthcare: New momentum to lift ban on gay men donating blood MORE (Mass.), Tim KaineTim KaineRNC strategizes against Clinton VP contenders Dems celebrate anniversary of gay marriage ruling Kaine: Trump thinks 'it's always got to be about him' MORE (Va.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyThe Hill's 12:30 Report Key Sanders ally: Time to get behind Clinton Dem Senate campaign chair endorses Clinton MORE (Ore.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySenate Dems rip GOP on immigration ruling Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate Senate heads toward internet surveillance fight MORE (Vt.), Mazie HironoMazie HironoSenators to Obama: Investigate whether Pentagon misled Congress Dems pressure Obama on vow to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees Carter pledges probe of sex assault testimony MORE (Hawaii), Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinOvernight Finance: Wall Street awaits Brexit result | Clinton touts biz support | New threat to Puerto Rico bill? | Dodd, Frank hit back Dem hopeful that Congress will eliminate tax break for investment fund managers Congress should stop government hacking and protect the Fourth Amendment MORE (Wis.), Ron WydenRon WydenRepublican chairman: Our tax reform plan fits with Trump's vision Post Orlando, hawks make a power play Democrats seize spotlight with sit-in on guns MORE (Ore.), Mark WarnerMark WarnerDrone use growing in surprising ways Overnight Cybersecurity: Pentagon cyber operations in the spotlight Lawmakers sound alarm over decaying Memorial Bridge MORE (Va.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDems celebrate anniversary of gay marriage ruling Sanders shares star power with NY House hopeful Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate MORE (N.Y.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalElizabeth Warren joins House Dems' sit-in Democrats stage sit-in on House floor to push for gun vote Dems blast Republicans after failed gun votes MORE (Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenRNC strategizes against Clinton VP contenders Trump blows response to Brexit vote Bernie fights for relevance MORE (Mass.), Patty MurrayPatty MurraySenate Dems link court fight to Congressional Baseball Game Reid: House-passed Zika deal a 'disgrace' Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate MORE (Wash.), Tom UdallTom UdallThe Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Energy: Senate spending bill takes aim at EPA rules Senate spending bill trims EPA spending, blocks regs MORE (N.M.), Tom CarperTom CarperWhite House seeks distance from ISIS transcript edit White House: Redaction decision was all Justice Dem senator: CDC already has authority to study guns MORE (Del.), Ben CardinBen CardinGOP senators: Brexit vote a wake-up call Dems take over floor to protest Senate inaction on gun control Voinovich led charge against anti-Semitism MORE (Md.), Jack ReedJack ReedOvernight Defense: Biden hits Trump on national security | Dems raise pressure over refugees | Graham vows fight over spending caps Graham: Opponents of lifting military spending caps are 'a-holes' Senate unlikely to vote on military cyber measure MORE (R.I.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA 14 dead in West Virginia flooding Bipartisan gun measure survives test vote MORE (W.Va.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDozens of senators push EPA for higher ethanol mandate Brother may I? Congress must reform senseless drug regulation Caution: drug competition not allowed MORE (Minn.) and Brian Schatz (Hawaii).
They note that federal employers would still be able to ask about past convictions or conduct a background check before making a final employment decision.
The senators said that actions by Obama would "restore hope and opportunity to those with criminal records who face substantial obstacles in their quest to be productive members of their communities."
The letter to Obama comes amid a larger push for criminal justice reform in the Senate. Cardin has introduced legislation that would restore voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Meanwhile, Sen. Tim ScottTim ScottTrump veepstakes in overdrive Police: 3 killed in Tel Aviv terrorist shooting GOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo MORE (S.C.) said earlier this month on ABC's "This Week" that he and other Republicans have "been working for the last several months on different proposals" addressing criminal justice reform.