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 TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far 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 McConnellRepublicans give Barr vote of confidence Democrats block two Senate abortion bills VA could lead way for nation on lower drug pricing 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.