Dems press Obama to 'ban the box'
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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 and Bill Nye to host climate change conversation Lewandowski: Perez ‘doesn’t understand what’s going on in America’ Sanders dodges question on whether he will give email list to DNC 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. 
 
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"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 BrownSanders, not Trump, is the real working-class hero A guide to the committees: Senate House bill would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions MORE (Ohio), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseFive takeaways from the Scott Pruitt emails A guide to the committees: Senate Pruitt confirmation sets stage for Trump EPA assault MORE (R.I.), Chris MurphyChris MurphyDem senator goes on tweet storm over leaked ObamaCare repeal plan A guide to the committees: Senate Senators eye new sanctions against Iran MORE (Conn.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsSenate advances Trump's Commerce pick Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senate Dem: Trump will hurt Gorsuch's confirmation by undermining judiciary MORE (Del.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinDems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive A guide to the committees: Senate McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' MORE (Ill.), Al FrankenAl FrankenEducation's DeVos, unions need to find way to bridge divide and work together DeVos: 'My job isn’t to win a popularity contest with the media' Kentucky Dem lawmaker questions Trump's mental health MORE (Minn.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyDems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive A guide to the committees: Senate GOP sets sights on internet privacy rules MORE (Mass.), Tim KaineTim KaineWashington-area lawmakers request GAO report on DC Metro Kaine discusses refugee crisis with Pope Francis during Vatican visit A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (Va.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks Poll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (Ore.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyDem senator asks for 'top to bottom' review of Syria policy A guide to the committees: Senate Verizon angling to lower price of Yahoo purchase: report MORE (Vt.), Mazie HironoMazie HironoA guide to the committees: Senate Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Warren: GOP ramming DeVos 'down the throats of the American people' MORE (Hawaii), Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinBuyer beware: Not all 'milk' is created equal A guide to the committees: Senate GOP loses top Senate contenders MORE (Wis.), Ron WydenRon WydenMnuchin aiming for tax reform by August Dems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive IPAB’s Medicare cuts will threaten seniors’ access to care MORE (Ore.), Mark WarnerMark WarnerTop Senate Dem: ‘Grave concerns’ about independence of Russia probe Dems worry too much about upsetting others. That needs to stop. Washington-area lawmakers request GAO report on DC Metro MORE (Va.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks Sanders, not Trump, is the real working-class hero Dem senator predicts Gorsuch will be confirmed MORE (N.Y.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalLast chance to improve Afghanistan’s fledgling Air Force? Poll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks Brazile: DNC staffers got death threats after email hack Sanders and Schumer are right: Ellison for DNC chair MORE (Mass.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayA guide to the committees: Senate Overnight Healthcare: Trump officials weigh fate of birth control mandate | House, DOJ seek delay in ObamaCare lawsuit Top lawmakers from both parties: 'Vaccines save lives' MORE (Wash.), Tom UdallTom UdallDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks A guide to the committees: Senate Senate Dems ask DHS inspector general for probe of Trump’s business arrangement MORE (N.M.), Tom CarperTom CarperA guide to the committees: Senate Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick Warren: Trump's EPA pick the 'attorney general for Exxon' MORE (Del.), Ben CardinBen CardinDem senator: Don't let leaks distract from real issue of Russian interference Washington-area lawmakers request GAO report on DC Metro Warren wants briefing on probe into Trump ally MORE (Md.), Jack ReedJack ReedA guide to the committees: Senate Cruz: Supreme Court 'likely' to uphold Trump order Schumer: Trump should see 'handwriting on the wall,' drop order MORE (R.I.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes MORE (W.Va.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDrug importation won't save dollars or lives Senators ask feds for ‘full account’ of work to secure election from cyber threats Sanders, not Trump, is the real working-class hero 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 ScottGOP rep: No ‘artificial crowd’ at my town hall A guide to the committees: Senate Republicans at risk in 2018 steering clear of town halls 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.