The House passed the Senate version of the First Step Act, a criminal justice bill, on Thursday, sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.
The House passed the Senate version of the First Step Act on Thursday, 358-36, featuring massive bipartisan support for the legislation. The Senate passed a revised version of the criminal justice bill, which originated in the House, on Tuesday.
President Trump cheered the bill’s passage through the House in a tweet on Thursday.
“Congress just passed the Criminal Justice Reform Bill known as the
#FirstStepAct,” Trump wrote. “Congratulations! This is a great bi-partisan achievement for everybody. When both parties work together we can keep our Country safer. A wonderful thing for the U.S.A.!!”
Congress just passed the Criminal Justice Reform Bill known as the #FirstStepAct. Congratulations! This is a great bi-partisan achievement for everybody. When both parties work together we can keep our Country safer. A wonderful thing for the U.S.A.!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018
The legislation’s passage through Congress serves as a victory for President Trump, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, as well as many Republicans and Democrats. The legislation split much of Trump’s base, as reluctant lawmakers, such as Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and John Kennedy (R-LA), opposed the bill, whereas more libertarian-leaning lawmakers, such as Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT), have championed the bill.
House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said in a statement on Thursday:
This is the first major step in over 20 years to transform the IRS and I applaud my Republican and Democrat colleagues for passing this bold package. These proposals will offer clarity and certainty to taxpayers by reigning [sic] in enforcement powers, calling for modernization of its IT infrastructure, and refocusing the agency on putting taxpayers first.
Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, issued a statement on the same day, saying:
In April, we said “passing significant reforms to our criminal justice system could bring relief to families and communities in every state, district and territory. Today, we took a step – a first step – in that direction. We commend House and Senate Leadership for answering the call to consider and pass positive reforms to our criminal justice system this year.
White House adviser Ivanka Trump tweeted:
The House just passed historic bipartisan #CriminalJusticeReform legislation 358-36!
A Christmas miracle years in the making!
Forthcoming…the President’s signature! #FirstStepAct
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) December 20, 2018