Could the Lame Duck Include a Bipartisan Push for Criminal Justice Reform? Could the Lame Duck Include a Bipartisan Push for Criminal Justice Reform? – NTK Network

Could the Lame Duck Include a Bipartisan Push for Criminal Justice Reform?

There's momentum behind the First Step Act, which the House passed in May and the Senate added to this summer and fall.

By NTK Staff | 11.16.2018 @12:30pm
Could the Lame Duck Include a Bipartisan Push for Criminal Justice Reform?

Much discussion in Washington about the lame-duck session of Congress this fall has centered around the anticipated fight over funding President Trump’s border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Under the surface, though, there’s a bipartisan opportunity that the president and key members of Congress are standing behind this week.

Earlier this week, President Trump endorsed the First Step Act, a bill passed by the House this May that is supported by a bipartisan group of senators, as well.

The Washington Post reported:

At an afternoon event at the White House, Trump officially endorsed the First Step Act, which he said included “reasonable sentencing reforms while keeping dangerous and violent criminals off our streets.” He urged lawmakers to send him a bill, saying: “I’ll be waiting with a pen.”

…The compromise criminal justice measure, which was hammered out in principle over the summer by a bipartisan group of senators, adds four provisions to a House-passed bill that focused on reducing prisoner recidivism.

As the Post noted, the bill easily passed the House in May. The FIRST STEP Act passed 360-59, with 226 of 234 Republicans and 134 of 193 Democrats supporting the measure. The original bill had 19 cosponsors, 10 Republicans and nine Democrats from 15 different states.

Now, the Senate changes to the bill may impact a final vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has taken a cautious approach to the push, the Post reported. But, in an era when there are few bipartisan accomplishments, the FIRST STEP Act may end up being a rare achievement this winter.

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