Booker hits 'horrible' 90s-era crime bills backed by Biden, Sanders

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats press Schumer on removing Confederate statues from Capitol The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Biden employs flurry of meetings to unite warring factions MORE (D-N.J.) on Wednesday slammed crime bills signed in the 1990s, touting his own plans for criminal justice reform. 

"I passed a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill with other senators on both sides of the aisle, the first time since those horrible crime bills back in the 1990s,” Booker, a 2020 presidential candidate, said Wednesday during a CNN town hall. 

Booker appeared to reference the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which was authored by former vice president and possible 2020 Democratic candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE. The legislation was also backed by fellow 2020 contender Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDon't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs MORE (I-Vt.), according to CNN.

ADVERTISEMENT

The bill set strict sentencing standards which, critics have argued, led to an era of mass incarceration.

Biden, who is reportedly close to making a decision on a possible White House bid, has said "I haven't always been right" on the issue of criminal justice.

Booker also said Wednesday that he would "absolutely" support mass pardons for federal marijuana offenses.

“The war on drugs has been a war on people,” he said. “As president of the United States, your job is to pursue justice.”