Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) finally decided to pick up the criminal justice reform bill, the FIRST STEP Act, that has the approval of President Donald Trump. From The Washington Examiner:

“At the request of the president and following improvements to the legislation that have been secured by several members, the Senate will take up the recently-revised criminal justice bill this month,” McConnell said in a Senate floor speech. “I intend to turn to the new text as early as the end of this week.”

The FIRST STEP Act, would, among other things, reduce some federal prison sentences, passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year. But it has sharply divided the Senate Republican Conference, with Sen. Tom Cotton, Ark., leading the charge against it as soft-on-crime legislation.

AEI summarized the bill:

The revised legislation does just that. The bill maintains House-passed provisions that improve federal prison policy while providing “down-payments” on much needed sentencing reform. In addition to banning the horrific and destructive practice of shackling pregnant inmates during child birth, the bill would give judges greater discretion in the use of mandatory minimum sentences, extend retroactively a 2010 law that eliminated sentencing disparities for cocaine-related drug offenses, and curtail the use of “stacking” by federal prosecutors who add firearms charges even when a weapon was not discharged during a criminal act.

The bill also expands “programs designed to discourage recidivism [tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend] and limit juvenile solitary confinement.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) described the moment as an “ideal opportunity” to show bipartisanship and have it come out successful. He claimed the bill has 75 votes in the Senate. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) came out for the bill on Friday and Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) joined him.

The GOP wants to get the bill back to the House in December before the Democrats take over in January, which could cause problems or have it shredded to pieces.

Supporters have noted they will limit debate on the bill, but for it to quickly move out of the chamber, all 100 senators need to approve.

However, the GOP has an opponent within its own party. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) hates the bill and wants to “introduce amendments to alter the bill ‘to address its remaining threats to public safety,’ comments which suggest he will not agree to a quick debate with no amendments.”