House passes criminal justice overhaul, sending it to Trump

The House voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to pass a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, sending the legislation to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE for a signature.

The chamber voted 358-36 to approve the legislation, two days after it passed the Senate in a vote of 87-12.

The First Step Act rolls back mandatory minimum sentences in certain instances and expands on "good time credits" for well-behaved prisoners looking to shorten their sentences.


Under the legislation, the Department of Justice is tasked with establishing a risk and needs assessment system to classify inmate's risk and provide guidance on "housing, grouping, and program assignment."

Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsJudiciary Committee abruptly postpones vote on articles of impeachment The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Sparks fly as House Judiciary debates impeachment articles Democrat suggests Republicans took acting classes based on ability to 'suspend disbelief' MORE (R-Ga.), who sponsored the bill in the House, praised the bipartisan work on the legislation and the White House's involvement in the process.

"We know that lives can be redirected and redeemed, and we're committing to doing that with tools that are proven to work. With the partnership of leaders like Chairman [Chuck] Grassley, Whip [John] Cornyn, Whip [Dick] Durbin and Senator [David] Perdue across the Capitol and Chairman [Bob] Goodlatte, Ranking Member [Jerrold] Nadler, Congressman [Jim] Sensenbrenner and Speaker [Paul] Ryan in the House, we were able to look at the human faces woven into the lines of this bill and vote to help them rebuild their lives," Collins said in a statement.

"Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump hosts pastor who says 'Jews are going to hell' at White House Hanukkah party Mark Levin calls Trump 'first Jewish president' Kushner pens NY Times piece defending Trump order combating anti-Semitism MORE never lost sight of those faces. His courage to take the political path less traveled has been instrumental in delivering us here today," he added, referring to Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser who was involved in negotiations over the legislation.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y), the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee for the 116th Congress, said he looks forward to continuing bipartisan work on reforms moving forward. 

"This bill includes critical changes to our sentencing laws that will reduce the impact of some mandatory minimum sentences, notably with retroactive application of the reduced crack cocaine sentences under the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. The bill’s reauthorization of the Second Chance Act is also a measure that is long overdue," he said.

"We will continue to work in Congress to oversee the implementation of these reforms as well as the new system to allow some federal prisoners to earn early entry into pre-release custody."