Senators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill
© Greg Nash

Senators introduced bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation on Thursday, a day after President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE threw his support behind the issue. 

The formal introduction of the bill, which combines a House-passed prison reform bill with changes to sentencing laws, comes as lawmakers are trying to get criminal justice reform passed by the end of the year. 
 
 
“President Trump has shown real leadership to advance these important reforms – the most significant in a generation. We have a real opportunity to make these important reforms a reality before the end of the year,” Grassley said.
 
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Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  Senate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply Democratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight MORE (D-Ill.), who has been negotiating with Grassley, argued that the legislation is the "best chance in a generation to make meaningful changes in our federal drug sentencing laws." 
 
In addition to Grassley and Durbin, Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHouse punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate House cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA This week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting MORE (R-Utah), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Senators ask DeVos to adjust FAFSA form due to the coronavirus pandemic Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff MORE (D-N.J.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks Comey, Rice, Clapper among GOP senator's targets for subpoenas amid Obama-era probe Schumer: GOP should 'stop sitting on their hands' on coronavirus bill MORE (R-S.C.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Judiciary Committee calls for national safety guidelines amid liability hearing Democrats ask for investigation of DOJ decision to drop Flynn case McConnell under mounting GOP pressure to boost state aid MORE (D-R.I.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottMississippi mayor defends officers in George Floyd's death: 'If you can talk, you can breathe' The truth behind Biden's 'you ain't black' gaffe Senators ask DeVos to adjust FAFSA form due to the coronavirus pandemic MORE (R-S.C.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyHouse punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate House cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA Frustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  MORE (D-Vt.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: National Portrait Gallery's Kim Sajet says this era rewiring people's relationship with culture, art; Trump's war with Twitter heats up The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Cuomo rings the first opening bell since March House Democrats make initial ad buys in battleground states MORE (R-Iowa), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharPolice killing in Minneapolis puts new scrutiny on Biden pick Cortez Masto says she's not interested in being Biden VP Voting rights, public health officials roll out guidelines to protect voters from COVID-19 MORE (D-Minn.), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMemorial Day during COVID-19: How to aid our country's veterans Pass the Primary Care Enhancement Act Hillicon Valley: Facebook permanently shifting thousands of jobs to remote work | Congressional action on driverless cars hits speed bump during pandemic | Republicans grill TikTok over data privacy concerns MORE (R-Kan.) and Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsVoting rights, public health officials roll out guidelines to protect voters from COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill Warren's VP bid faces obstacle: Her state's Republican governor MORE (D-Del.) are currently signed onto the bill. 
 
 
That does not guarantee it ultimately gets brought up on the floor. In order to be considered for a vote Grassley and Durbin will need to show McConnell they have more than 60 votes — the amount needed for passage. 

“We don’t have a lot of time left," McConnell told reporters this week. "The first step is to finalize what proponents are actually for. There have been a lot of different versions floating around. And then we’ll whip it and see where the vote count is and then see how it stacks up against our other priorities going into the end of the session."

The bill would take the House-passed prison reform bill, which passed 360-59 in May, and add four sentencing provisions. 
 
It would retroactively apply the Fair Sentencing Act in an attempt to reduce the disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses; expand an existing safety valve for mandatory minimum sentencing that would not apply retroactively and clarify a stacking provision on crimes committed with a firearm. 
 
The sentencing provisions also include reducing lifetime mandatory minimum sentences after two prior felony drug convictions to at least 25 years and reducing minimum sentences after one prior conviction from 20 to 15 years. 
 
Senators and the White House are expected to lobby to get the bill through Congress by the end of the year. Trump, during a White House event on Wednesday, urged lawmakers to send him a bill. 
 
“I urge lawmakers in both House and Senate to work hard and to act quickly and send a final bill to my desk, and I look very much forward to signing it," he said. 
 
But there are early signs of entrenched conservative opposition, raising the possibility that even Trump's backing could fail to get the bill across the finish line. 
 
 
"Nowhere is this more true than with so called 'criminal-justice reform,' which is just a misguided effort to let serious felons out of prison," he wrote.