If you have been wondering what Congress has been doing lately, it has been working on prison reform which has already passed the House and will soon be taken up in the Senate:
“Criminal justice reform advocates say sentencing reform provisions will be included in legislation unveiled shortly after midterm elections Tuesday, triggering an intense lame-duck struggle over attaching penalty reductions to a White House-backed prison reform bill.
The First Step Act passed the House in a 360-59 vote earlier this year, but without sentencing reforms, at the behest of Republican opponents.
Reform advocates expect rapid legislative action after a pre-election pause, and believe there will be enough votes to pass the expanded legislative package.
Two people close to the process tell the Washington Examiner that a bipartisan group of senators has agreed to attach a set of sentencing reforms to the House-passed bill.
The additions include shortening federal three-strike drug penalties from life in prison to 25 years, reducing two-strike drug penalties from 20 years to 15, allowing a firearm sentencing enhancement to run concurrently with the underlying penalty, and allowing retroactive sentencing for crack cocaine cases judged under tougher historical laws. …”
Prison reform is the latest example of an issue that has risen to the very top of the Republican legislative agenda. It has been there for most of the year alongside the tax cuts, Obamacare, Russia and Iran sanctions, military spending, Israel’s wish list, banking deregulation and welfare reform. You know, all the issues that voters cared so much about in the last election.