Graham urges GOP leadership to bring vote on criminal justice reform

Graham urges GOP leadership to bring vote on criminal justice reform
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHere's who Biden is now considering for budget chief House Democratic leaders back Shalanda Young for OMB after Tanden withdrawal The Memo: Is Trump mounting a comeback — or finally fading? MORE (R-S.C.) said Sunday that there's enough bipartisan support to pass a criminal justice reform bill in the Senate if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks DOJ declined to take up Chao ethics probe Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC MORE (R-Ky.) will bring it up for a vote.

Graham said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he's confident a criminal justice reform bill that President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE has backed would receive 80 votes in the Senate, and would be a positive first step for the government in the wake of a contentious midterm election cycle.


"Let’s start 2019 on a positive note," Graham said. "I’m urging Sen. McConnell to bring the bill to the floor of the Senate. It would get 80 votes. Mr. President, pick up the phone and push the Republican leadership."

"The Republicans are the problem here, not the Democrats," he added.

Trump has voiced support for the legislation, which has been championed by his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerBiden to speak with Saudi king 'soon' as pressure builds for Khashoggi report Biden to speak with Saudi king ahead of Khashoggi report: report Former Trump officials eye bids for political office MORE. However, some Republicans have voiced opposition to the bill, and McConnell has reportedly told the president there will not be time to vote on it before the end of the year.

Graham called the bill "the most important bipartisan piece of legislation in the Congress today." 

The legislation would reduce lifetime mandatory minimum sentences after two prior felony drug convictions to at least 25 years; reduce minimum sentences after one prior conviction from 20 to 15 years; and make the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive.