November 20, 2018

Prison reform. But why?

This via CNBC:
The new bipartisan criminal justice reform bill backed by President Donald Trump could reduce thousands of sentences and save the federal government millions of dollars in incarceration costs.

Yet even with broad support and modest goals — it would affect only federal prisoners, a tiny slice of the nation's overall prison population — the bill known as the First Step Act is at risk of stalling in Congress.

At an event at the White House last week, Trump announced his intention to sign the bill, which his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, have both publicly endorsed and pushed forward in the administration.

"I'll be waiting with my pen," said the president, who noted that the bill would reverse some federal policies that "disproportionately affected the African-American community."

The goal is to pass it before a divided Congress takes office in January. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Trump last week that this is unlikely due to time constraints, according to a report by The New York Times.
What?  The Republicans have a lame duck congress for a few more weeks and a chance to finish off a number of legislative items before congress is turned over to Democrat control.  How about a wall? How about that second tax cut? How about anything else? Why prison reform?

I think I know. It's possible that the president sees this as a low hanging fruit item.  Think of what passing it would mean for the president;  because it disproportionately affects African Americans, it can only help his approval rating in that community.  

In addition he can say that he has always been willing to work with Democrats on common ground items.  That serves two purposes, it can deflect from claims he is a danger to democracy or it can serve as a counter-punch to all the threats of impeachment if they do get it signed; the president can point out that Democrats are willing to work with him at certain times and therefore he can not be this horrible evil (or that Democrats are just as evil).  That is all assuming the president expects it to get stalled prior to the new congress and gets taken up as soon as the house changes hands.

And maybe, it's just bait.  

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