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Obama: Work with me on criminal justice reform bill

President Obama is pushing lawmakers to work with him on a criminal justice reform bill, suggesting it could be a rare area of bipartisanship in his final year. 

“I hope we can work together this year on bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse,” he said to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), citing their previous ability to reach a two-year budget deal. 
 
{mosads}The president has made overhauling the criminal justice system a key pillar of his final year in office. Obama has tried to keep momentum around the issue by huddling with lawmakers at the White House. 
 
While both House and Senate lawmakers have introduced legislation, neither chamber has brought a bill to a vote.
 
The Senate introduced a bipartisan bill last year, though it’s gotten pushback from conservative lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is running for the Republican presidential nomination. 
 
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) voiced optimism that congressional Republicans would be able to work with the president on the issue, though he said that senators have “more work to do” before the legislation is ready for a floor vote. 
 
“This could be a legacy item for the president,” he told reporters earlier Tuesday. “I think this is an area where we could do some good. “
 
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement that the president is challenging Congress to pass legislation and “keep the legislation free from any corporate giveaways that do not respond to the root causes of unnecessarily long prison sentences.” 
 
Senate Democrats have raised concerns over provisions in one of the House bills that they argue would make it harder to sue corporations.
Tags John Cornyn Patrick Leahy Paul Ryan Ted Cruz

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