The Senate has passed a new criminal justice reform bill which only has to clear one more hurdle in the House before it heads to President Trump’s desk. Trump is expected to sign the bill which makes major reforms on mandatory prison sentences into law.
In the Senate, the bill received overwhelming bipartisan support as the final tally for the vote was 87 to 12.
From the Daily Caller:
The bill, titled the “First Step Act,” includes both prison and sentencing reforms, in which many Republicans had been pushing to pass before Democrats take control of the House on Jan. 3.
The bill gained bi-partisan support, even from senators such as California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, who said Monday the bill would make the “criminal justice system smarter.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a floor speech on Dec. 11 that it is likely the Senate will work between Christmas and New Year’s “if necessary” to pass criminal justice reform legislation before 2019.
As Associated Press reports, President Trump is eager to sign the bill which he claimed would “keep our communities safer.”
“America is the greatest Country in the world and my job is to fight for ALL citizens, even those who have made mistakes,” Trump tweeted after the bill cleared the Senate. “Congratulations to the Senate on the bi-partisan passing of a historic Criminal Justice Reform Bill.”
Trump continued: “This will keep our communities safer, and provide hope and a second chance, to those who earn it. In addition to everything else, billions of dollars will be saved. I look forward to signing this into law!”
Here’s more on the bill, from the Associated Press:
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The House is expected to pass the bill this week, sending it to the president’s desk for his signature.
The bill gives judges more discretion when sentencing some drug offenders and boosts prisoner rehabilitation efforts. It also reduces the life sentence for some drug offenders with three convictions, or “three strikes,” to 25 years. Another provision would allow about 2,600 federal prisoners sentenced for crack cocaine offenses before August 2010 the opportunity to petition for a reduced penalty.
And, also from the Associated Press:
But in White House conference rooms and lobbying trips to Capitol Hill, Kushner worked with advocates, legislators and others on both sides of the aisle to try to craft a deal to make the nation’s criminal justice system fairer. Now Kushner is getting credit for helping to spearhead what could be the first major bipartisan legislative success of the Trump era: a first-in-a-generation criminal justice overhaul that passed the Senate Tuesday and is expected to pass the House later this week.
“I don’t think this would have happened without him,” said Democrat Senator Corey Booker, who is considering a potential presidential run in 2020. Booker commended the bill, saying it would have “a profound effect on thousands of families who have been suffering as a result of this broken system.”
The House is now tasked with passing their version of the “First Step Act” as well as pass a funding bill as the government is facing a shutdown on Thursday.