Key Senate Republican: Criminal justice reform needs more GOP support

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said Sunday that there is "still an opportunity" for Congress to pass a bipartisan criminal justice reform package this year, but added that the legislation needs support from more Republicans in the Senate.

Thune, who was promoted last month to serve as Senate Republican Whip, said the package is "still being worked on" and that there needs to "be some consensus" before it can move forward. 

“There are timing issues associated with it, but at the moment at least there are still some substantive issues that are being resolved," he said.

"I think, if they get that worked out, if they can attract the support of more Republican senators, there’s still an opportunity for that to be finished this year. If not, obviously, it will be taken up again next year," Thune added.

The legislation is supported by a bipartisan group of senators and by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I will deliver State of the Union 'when the shutdown is over' Former NYPD commander claims Trump got special treatment for gun licenses Colbert starts petition for Cardi B to give State of the Union rebuttal MORE, who on Friday called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

"Hopefully Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAir travel union leaders warn of 'unprecedented' safety risks as shutdown continues On The Money: Shutdown Day 33 | Fight over State of the Union | Pelosi tells Trump no speech on Tuesday | Trump teases 'alternative' address | Trump adviser warns shutdown could hurt growth | Mulvaney seeks list of vulnerable programs Demonstrators protesting shutdown arrested outside McConnell's office MORE will ask for a VOTE on Criminal Justice Reform. It is extremely popular and has strong bipartisan support," Trump tweeted.

"It will also help a lot of people, save taxpayer dollars, and keep our communities safe. Go for it Mitch!" he added.