Harris announces support for White House-backed criminal justice bill

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisMichael Bennet 'encouraged' in possible presidential bid: report House Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts Strategist says Trump is 'retreating' from talking about foreign policy MORE (D-Calif.) said on Monday that she will support a White House-backed criminal justice bill that the Senate is expected to vote on this week.

Harris, a former prosecutor and potential 2020 White House contender, called the bill a "compromise of a compromise" but said she would vote for it because it "takes positive steps to improve our justice system."

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“I have fought to improve our criminal justice system for the better part of my career. This is another step in that direction," Harris said in a statement.

The bill merges a House-passed prison reform bill with a handful of changes to sentencing laws and mandatory minimums for some drug-related felonies.

Supporters last week unveiled a final version of the bill aimed at winning over more GOP support, and the Senate is expected to take an initial vote on the legislation Monday at 5:30 p.m.

Harris said the bill made "long overdue" changes, including retroactively applying the Fair Sentencing Act, but argued that each of the changes to mandatory minimums should apply retroactively — a move that would likely shrink GOP support for the bill.

"All of the Act’s sentencing reforms should be applied retroactively, and the Act should further expand application of earned good time credits, place more prohibitions on private prisons which profit from the incarceration of individuals, and further limit the use of electronic monitoring," Harris added.

Though the bill likely has the votes to pass, Harris's backing marks a major win for supporters of the legislation, who worried the chamber's progressive wing could refuse to support the bill because of President TrumpDonald John TrumpClinton and Ocasio-Cortez joke about Kushner's alleged use of WhatsApp Missouri Gov. declares state of emergency amid severe flooding Swalwell on Hicks testimony: 'She's going to have to tell us who she lied for' in Trump admin MORE's endorsement.

Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBannon says an O'Rourke-Harris ticket poses the greatest threat to Trump in 2020 Jared Kushner's brother made last-minute donation to Beto O'Rourke Senate campaign Biden advisers mull launch naming Abrams as running mate: report MORE (D-N.J.), who is also considered a potential 2020 contender, have been furiously lobbying their colleagues to support the legislation. Booker warned last week that he would be "deeply disappointed" if a Democratic senator voted against it.

"People in my caucus who are progressives who understand ... some elements of the bill, 90 percent of the beneficiaries will be African-Americans," Booker said at the time. "I would be deeply disappointed if anybody in our caucus votes against a bill that is going to disproportionally help low-income people and minorities."