Senate passes bipartisan criminal justice bill

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

Senate ends debate on criminal justice reform

Washington — The Senate voted 87-12 to approve a bipartisan criminal justice bill supported by President Trump on Tuesday evening. The First Step Act, which has already passed the House, is now headed to Mr. Trump's desk for a signature.

The Senate voted to advance the measure on Tuesday morning. The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Mike Lee and by Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Dick Durbin. It would ease federal sentencing laws for some criminal offenders.

Mr. Trump officially threw his support behind the bill in November, giving the legislation the push it might need to overcome the stall in the Senate.

"Working together with my administration over the last two years, these members have reached a bipartisan agreement. Did I hear the word bipartisan? Did I hear, did I hear that word? That's a nice word, bipartisan agreement, on prison reform legislation known as the First Step," Mr. Trump said. "It's the right thing to do."

Trump endorses bipartisan support for criminal justice bill

Mr. Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, has been working with senators and private sector stakeholders to make improvements to the country's prison and sentencing policies, and has been acknowledged by members of both parties as key to securing White House support.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton has been a vocal opponent of the bill, and added amendments which would have barred more felons from participating in the bill's earned-time credit program, along with other hard-line proposals.

First published on December 18, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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