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OffbeatMcConnell tells White House little chance of Senate vote on criminal justice bill

02:05  07 december  2018
02:05  07 december  2018 Source:   msn.com

Rand Paul singles out McConnell on criminal justice bill, calls for public pressure on majority leader

Rand Paul singles out McConnell on criminal justice bill, calls for public pressure on majority leader The Senate's top Republican has not said if he will schedule a vote on the measure, backed by Trump but opposed by some conservatives, in coming weeks.

WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell told President Trump in a private meeting on Thursday that there is not likely to be enough time to bring a bipartisan criminal justice bill up for a vote this year, regardless of the support it has in the Senate and the White House

McConnell told the president, in an interaction first reported by the New York Times, that there may And there's no chance of the bill coming up and passing through the Senate without an ugly fight. But even if something can get done in the Senate , the House will still have to take another vote on

McConnell tells White House little chance of Senate vote on criminal justice bill© Alex Wong/Getty Images Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) leaves after a closed door briefing by Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel to members of Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this week.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told allies that there is little chance that the Senate will consider a bipartisan criminal justice bill in the waning days of year, even as his own Republicans say there is more than enough support for the legislation favored by President Trump.

Despite pressure from the president, McConnell (R-Ky.) has told White House officials and others close to him that a vote is unlikely on the Senate floor, according to people familiar with his comments. One McConnell adviser said the senator does not intend to have a vote on the legislation because he does not have enough time and is more focused on other things — like funding the government and confirming judges.

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Senator Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, asked Mitch McConnell for a vote on the bipartisan criminal justice legislation before the The direct lobbying by Mr. Grassley was just part of a pressure campaign aimed squarely at Mr. McConnell this week as an unusual coalition of

Senior Senate authors of a long-stalled but much more comprehensive package say that a bill In a private huddle on Wednesday on the Senate floor, a group of senators corralled Senator Mitch Not to mention that Mr. McConnell is not that keen on criminal justice legislation in general, and he

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“He doesn't like the bill,” Republican donor Doug Deason, a key White House ally, said of the measure. Referring to the former senator and attorney general, Deason added: “He's a Jeff Sessions-style lock them up and throw away the key kind of guy.”

White House officials say McConnell doesn’t want to have a vote unless the overwhelming majority of Republicans will vote for it — although Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said this week that 28 or 30 GOP senators support the bill. There are 51 Senate Republicans, and nearly all of the 49 Senate Democrats — if not all — are expected to back it.

McConnell said at a Wall Street Journal event this week that more than half of his conference either oppose the bill or are undecided.

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Top U.S. Senate Republican says will Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he will "probably" block a renewed effort to vote on a bill that would protect the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Speaking to reporters, McConnell called a bipartisan effort to force a vote on the bill "a solution in search of a problem," though he reiterated that Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized, should be allowed to finish his probe.

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Then Mitch McConnell went into action. Or, more precisely, the Senate majority leader shifted into his signature mode of vigorous inaction. More particularly, criminal justice reform is not a core concern of the Republican base. And with hard-liners such as Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas loudly trashing

“It’s extremely divisive inside the Senate Republican conference,” McConnell, who deplores fights that split his ranks, said at a Wall Street Journal event on Monday evening. Lawmakers have to take up a farm bill extension and legislation to fund parts of the government before the end of the year, and McConnell would also like to confirm as many judges as possible before then, his allies say.

When asked about McConnell’s private remarks, a spokesman said the legislation was still being drafted and he could not predict the outcome on an unfinished bill.

In turn, McConnell’s reluctance has frustrated White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and others in the administration who believe the votes are there but that McConnell is dragging his feet. In recent days, Kushner has ramped up his private push among senators — visiting Republican lunches, strategizing with the bill’s key authors and even sending out a thick packet of material promoting the criminal justice bill to Senate Republican offices. The book includes letters from advocacy groups backing the bill, media coverage of it and a summary of the legislation.

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The White House and supporters of the Senate criminal justice reform bill have grown increasingly frustrated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch “A very small and vocal group of senators are obstructing us from being able to get a vote and causing McConnell to move the goal posts,” Jessica

Despite McConnell voting to override the President, McConnell would criticize JASTA within a day of the bill 's passing, saying that it might have "unintended ramifications". McConnell appeared to blame the White House regarding this as he quoted that there was "failure to communicate early about the

On Thursday afternoon, Fox News Corp. took a rare step of endorsing the bill, in the first news release issued by former White House aide Hope Hicks. It was an unusual move for the corporation.

“Fox supports the bipartisan First Step Act to limit mandatory minimum sentences, prevent recidivism and expand rehabilitation,” the statement read.

Trump announced his endorsement of the First Step Act last month and has pushed McConnell in private conversations to put the bill up on the Senate floor for a vote. Yet Trump’s advocacy for the bill has not changed the calculus for McConnell, who faces reelection in 2020, the people familiar with the majority leader’s comments said. And some of the bill’s supporters say they wish the president would do more — like pressure senators on Twitter or make more frequent and forceful public comments on the legislation.

Supporters have rushed to make minor changes to the legislation meant to assuage concerns from some. Republican opponents have said that the bill would inadvertently allow people convicted of violent crimes to qualify for its benefits.

White House makes last-ditch push on criminal justice reform bill

White House makes last-ditch push on criminal justice reform bill Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hesitant to bring the bill for a vote.

McConnell ruled out a floor vote on legislation to protect Mueller, even as the Senate Judiciary Committee was "I hope the Judiciary Committee moves forward with a bill , and that members of Senator McConnell also threw cold water on a proposal, floated by the White House and House

Senate Republicans said they would not move ahead with a vote on the latest plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which lacked the support to pass. From left: Senators Mitch McConnell , the majority leader, Bill Cassidy, Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso on Tuesday.CreditCreditGabriella

McConnell also met privately with a group of criminal justice reform advocates early last week, and praised the group for their work on the legislation.

“I believe there’s a majority already available for the Senate majority leader (and that) with the improvements in specificity in the language, that several more Republican senators will join in supporting the First Step Act,” said Craig DeRoche, the head of advocacy for Prison Fellowship, which has been lobbying in favor for the bill. “President Trump has been absolutely essential and critical to this bill having the support that it has.”

But the divisive nature of the bill among Republicans is not the only issue. Earlier this week, McConnell said the Senate is simply running out of time to “shoehorn” such an “extremely controversial” legislation into the Senate schedule that could eat up seven to 10 days of floor time.

Several White House aides said the goal now is that it “eventually” happens, in the words of one senior West Wing official.

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Senate Republicans mull changes to controversial criminal justice bill.
But any revisions could upset a bipartisan compromise that is backed by President Trump.

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