August 23, 2018
Prez Trump reportedly has decided he will not support federal criminal justice bill before mid-term election
This new Axios piece has a depressing headline: "Scoop: Trump won't endorse criminal justice bill before midterms." Here are all the reported details:
President Trump has stymied a plan to push prison and sentencing reform before the midterms, according to an administration source with direct knowledge. In a White House meeting on Thursday afternoon, Trump decided that the compromise package that Jared Kushner, Sen. Chuck Grassley and others have been advocating for is too politically difficult to endorse before the elections, the source told Axios.
Why it matters: Without the president backing the bill, which might have reduced some mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes and sent around 4,000 prisoners home, it has zero chance of getting a vote before the midterms. Senate leadership was already reluctant to bring it up for a vote. The collapse of the bill is a win for opponents of the package, including law-and-order hardliners Sen. Tom Cotton and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
As noted in this prior post, Politico has already been reporting that the Senate was not going to vote on any criminal justice reform bill until after the election. But I suppose it was possible Prez Trump might want to push forward; indeed, some commentators, as noted here and here, have suggested it would be politically wise for Trump to campaign for reform in the run-up to the election. Ultimately, this decision by Trump provides even more basis to worry that it will continue to be a heavy slog to get sentencing reform as well as prison reform to the President's desk.
Some of many prior recent related posts:
- House Judiciary Committee approves FIRST STEP Act by a vote of 25-5 after lots of discussion of amendments
- FIRST STEP Act passes US House of Representatives by vote of 360-59(!), but its fate in Senate remains uncertain
- Interesting new US Sentencing Commission analysis of possible impact of Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017
- Five prominent congressional Democrats write in opposition to federal statutory prison reform without broader sentencing reform
- Prez Trump pledges to sign prison reform that will be "best in the world"
- Large group of former prisoners urge Senate leaders to move forward with FIRST STEP Act
- Intriguing comments about the politics and persons around FIRST STEP Act and federal criminal justice reform efforts
- An interesting political pitch for the FIRST STEP Act
- Encouraging news from DC about prospects for prison reform with sentencing reform getting enacted in 2018
- White House emails "startling facts about America’s prison system"
- Could a version of the FIRST STEP Act with sentencing reforms pass the Senate in a matter of weeks?
- FAMM provides detailed review of SRCA sentencing provisions most likely to be added to FIRST STEP Act
- Senator Cotton delivers faulty arguments to prop up faulty federal sentencing system
- Will Trump White House soon "deploy its assets ... to stump" for federal criminal justice reform? It may be critical.
- Could enhanced FIRST STEP Act get more than 90 votes in the Senate if even brought up for a vote?
- Still more on Senator Cotton's efforts to thwart significant federal criminal justice reforms and responses there to
UPDATE: This new Washington Post article reports on today's White House meeting on criminal justice reform efforts under the headline "GOP senator: Trump backs tenets of compromise on criminal-justice reform." The report suggests that both proponents and opponents of reform think Prez Trump is on their side. The article seems to confirm that reform is not going to get done before the mid-term election.
August 23, 2018 at 05:13 PM | Permalink