There was a rare moment of bipartisanship in the US Congress last night as the Senate overwhelmingly passed the First Step Act - the first in what could potentially be a series of legislation that aims to overhaul the criminal justice system.
Having garnered support from law-and-order conservatives a well as progressive Democrats the bill passed the Senate 87-12.
"This will keep our communities safer, and provide hope and a second chance, to those who earn it," tweeted President Donald Trump.
"In addition to everything else, billions of dollars will be saved."
....This will keep our communities safer, and provide hope and a second chance, to those who earn it. In addition to everything else, billions of dollars will be saved. I look forward to signing this into law!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
Chuck Grassley, the head Republican in the Senate Judiciary Committee praised the legislation - and added that it the work of Democrat whip Dick Durban helped ensure the significant victory.
After yrs of bipartisan work w Sens Durbin & Lee The First Step Act passed the Senate 2night w a big bipartisan victory 87-12 vote Historic criminal justice reform happens once in a generation Now on its way 2 House & Pres Trump waiting w a pen to sign— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) December 19, 2018
The American Civil Liberties Union greeted it with cautious optimism
The FIRST STEP Act is by no means perfect — but we’re in the midst of a mass incarceration crisis and the time to act is now.
We’re glad to see common sense prevail in the Senate voting to move this bill closer to the finish line. https://t.co/1PM9kabJuc— ACLU (@ACLU) December 19, 2018
The major provisions of the bill, according to Vox are:
The bill must now get passed the House of Representatives and if it does, it is anticipated that Donald Trump will sign the First Step Act into law.