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 calls for renewed focus on fighting climate change Maher on Obama speaking fee: Isn’t that what cost Clinton the election? NRA head: Sanders 'a political predator' 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 BrownTrump talks big on trade, but workers need action Dems crowd primaries to challenge GOP reps Battle begins over Wall Street rules MORE (Ohio), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseHollywood, DC come together for First Amendment-themed VIP party Overnight Energy: Trump set to sign offshore drilling order Trump's FDA nominee clears key Senate committee MORE (R.I.), Chris MurphyChris MurphyDem senator lists victims of gun violence during Trump's NRA speech Democrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Senators get North Korea briefing in unusual WH visit MORE (Conn.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsCoons: Senate may have to 'support military action' A Vandenberg movement in Congress Senate approves Trump's Agriculture chief MORE (Del.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinLawmakers reintroduce online sales tax bills Democrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Senators warn of 'dangerous' cuts to International Affairs Budget MORE (Ill.), Al FrankenAl FrankenWhat killing net neutrality means for the internet Overnight Tech: Net neutrality fight descends into trench warfare | Zuckerberg visits Ford factory | Verizon shines light on cyber espionage Franken, top Dems blast FCC over net neutrality proposal MORE (Minn.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyDems blast Trump's policies at Climate March Sanders calls for renewed focus on fighting climate change Overnight Energy: Trump set to sign offshore drilling order MORE (Mass.), Tim KaineTim KaineDemocrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Overnight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record Kaine, Schiff press Trump on legal justification for Syria strike MORE (Va.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySanders calls for renewed focus on fighting climate change Overnight Energy: Trump set to sign offshore drilling order Sanders: Trump couldn't be 'more wrong' on climate MORE (Ore.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyHollywood, DC come together for First Amendment-themed VIP party The Hill's 12:30 Report Lawmakers talk climate for Earth Day, Science March MORE (Vt.), Mazie HironoMazie HironoDem lawmaker to Sessions: 'You are a racist and a liar' March for Science rallies draw huge crowds around US Dems knock Trump on Earth Day MORE (Hawaii), Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinDems unveil bill targeting LGBT harassment on college campuses Lawmakers targeted as district politics shift Senate approves Trump's Agriculture chief MORE (Wis.), Ron WydenRon WydenWhat killing net neutrality means for the internet Overnight Tech: Net neutrality fight descends into trench warfare | Zuckerberg visits Ford factory | Verizon shines light on cyber espionage Franken, top Dems blast FCC over net neutrality proposal MORE (Ore.), Mark WarnerMark WarnerHollywood, DC come together for First Amendment-themed VIP party IT modernization bill reintroduced in Congress Want to grow the economy? Make student loan repayment assistance tax-free. MORE (Va.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate votes to confirm Rosenstein as deputy attorney general Senate approves Trump's Agriculture chief Dems urge Trump to include Northeast Corridor tunnel project in infrastructure bill MORE (N.Y.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalDemocrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Overnight Finance: Dems explore lawsuit against Trump | Full-court press for Trump tax plan | Clock ticks down to spending deadline FCC head unveils plan to roll back net neutrality MORE (Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren reads middle school students' letters on climate change Warren on attending Trump’s inauguration: ‘I wanted it burned in my eyes’ Maher on Obama speaking fee: Isn’t that what cost Clinton the election? MORE (Mass.), Patty MurrayPatty MurraySenate confirms Labor Secretary Acosta Dems unveil bill targeting LGBT harassment on college campuses Trump said he would create ‘more jobs and better wages’ — he can start with federal contractors MORE (Wash.), Tom UdallTom UdallDems blast Trump's policies at Climate March IT modernization bill reintroduced in Congress Overnight Energy: Trump orders review of national monuments, claiming ‘egregious abuse’ MORE (N.M.), Tom CarperTom CarperDems blast Trump's policies at Climate March What to know about Trump's national monuments executive order Dems probe claims of religious bias in DHS 'trusted traveler' program MORE (Del.), Ben CardinBen CardinDemocrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Overnight Finance: Dems explore lawsuit against Trump | Full-court press for Trump tax plan | Clock ticks down to spending deadline Sanders on skipping WH Korea briefing: 'I did not want to be part of a photo op' MORE (Md.), Jack ReedJack ReedSunday shows preview: McMaster hits circuit for second straight week The Hill's 12:30 Report Easy accessibility of voter registration data imperils American safety MORE (R.I.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDems struggle with abortion litmus test Senators push 'cost-effective' reg reform Congress nears deal on help for miners MORE (W.Va.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDem labels infrastructure ‘top thing’ Trump can accomplish Wyden pushing to mandate 'basic cybersecurity' for Senate Senators press the FCC on rural broadband affordability 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 ScottWhat prospective college students need to know before they go — or owe Lobbying World Juan Williams: The complicated story of black conservatism 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.