Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat in the chamber and an author of the justice reform bill, said Republicans had offered him "little to no hope" that the legislation would move forward. He called it a "missed opportunity."
Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Republican whip and a lead sponsor of the measure, said he'd hoped the House would move more quickly and provide momentum in the Senate, but "apparently we ran out of time."
With all respect to Sen. Cornyn, the main problem was not time. The problem was that the bill was a bad idea from the start. Backers refused to disclose what the total cost of the (all-but-certain) recidivist crime would be -- that is, how many more Wendell Callahan child murder episodes we should expect. They refused to budge on mens rea reform. They refused to acknowledge the tens of thousands of felons who will already be getting early release courtesy of retroactive sentencing guidelines. They refused to understand when the ground shifted, failing to grasp that months of increases in violent crime and heroin overdose deaths have shaken the enabling complacency of last year.
Who are the heroes in the fight to preserve our safety? The honor roll begins with Sen. Jeff Sessions, whose valor was a beacon from the start. It includes Sens. Tom Cotton -- a brilliant, strong, young voice -- David Perdue, Orrin Hatch, David Vitter, and Ted Cruz. Behind them are incredible women and men whose diligence has been a lesson and a model for me.
Congratulations and gratitude to every one.