Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) jumped on board the Trump train this week and announced that she will back a criminal justice reform bill supported by President Donald Trump.
She might have caught many off-guard with her outstanding bipartisan support, but that type of teamwork is what President Trump has wanted all along.
Harris released a statement today that announced her support of the bill, listed as the “First Step Act.” Trump and the Republicans would like the bill passed before Democrats take control of the House on January 3rd. The “First Step Act” includes sentencing and prison reforms.
“For years, we’ve been offered a false choice on criminal justice policy. It’s a choice that suggests that we are either ‘soft’ on crime or ‘tough’ on crime instead of asking: ‘Are we smart on crime?’ Americans deserve a criminal justice system that is both fair and smart. By passing the FIRST STEP Act, we can make our criminal justice system smarter,” Harris said in a Monday statement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took the floor to deliver a speech that suggested the Senate will work between the winter holidays to pass the legislation, just before their personal deadline encroaching upon the shift in power of the House from right to left.
McConnell stated, per an article on the Daily Caller:
“At the request of the president and following improvements to the legislation that has been secured by several members, the Senate will take up the recently revised criminal justice bill this month. I intend to turn to the new text as early as the end of this week. So as a result of this additional legislative business, members should now be prepared to work between Christmas and New Year’s, if necessary, in order to complete our work.”
Trump’s Republican-controlled House recently signed a two-week resolution to keep government open, as funding was originally going to expire ten days ago on December 7th.
Signing the extension prevented a government shutdown and funding is now approved to keep them open until at least December 21st.
The Republicans must now work diligently with Democrats to ensure the criminal justice reform legislation is passed sooner than later.
If it’s not passed now, there’s a slight chance that it could change once the Democrats take control of the house in the first week of January 2019.
However, if there is Democrat support now, then there might only be a small chance that the bill changes if it’s not passed soon.
Although, anything can happen once Democrats control the House so it’s truly in the best interest of Republicans to get their legislation passed as soon as possible.
Carrie Johnson of NPR stated, in a chat with Judy Woodruff, that Trump’s criminal justice reform bill could be a big breakthrough.
Yes, I think I have been covering these issues for six years.
And today really felt like a breakthrough. The notion that President Trump, who campaigned on law and order, has actually thrown his weight behind a plan that would reduce some prison sentences for convicted drug criminals is a big deal. As one advocate told me, it’s a Nixon goes to China moment.
We will see if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Senate actually makes the time to get this done this year. We know that Paul Ryan, who’s leaving the House at the end of this Congress, has made it a priority. So all eyes are on the Senate at this point.”
It remains a waiting game to see if the legislation is passed by January 3rd.