The bill would make incremental changes to the way federal prisoners are treated by providing $50 million per year for education, drug treatment and mental health care while directing potential savings toward prisoner re-entry programs.
The measure, which still faces significant Senate opposition despite being promoted by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the White House, also drew powerful Democratic opposition, especially among prominent black Democrats, including Senator Cory A. Booker of New Jersey, Senator Kamala Harris of California and the civil-rights stalwart, Representative John Lewis of Georgia. Opponents said it failed to address sentencing reforms, such as reducing the number of crimes that prompt mandatory minimum sentences.
“We looked at it from the position of, we could continue to bang our head on sentencing reform or you could come together and make good policy,” said Representative Doug Collins, a Republican from Georgia, who introduced the bill and worked with Mr. Jeffries to get it passed.
Mr. Jeffries lobbied Democratic lawmakers intensely for their votes. Representative Robin Kelly, Democrat of Illinois, said she opposed the measure at first but Mr. Jeffries chipped away, asking a fundamental question: If there are people in prison who should be free, then why shouldn’t lawmakers take every step possible to help them now?
“He was convincing,” Ms. Kelly said. “He knows it’s not the end all to be all.”
The bill passed the House 360 to 59.
Despite that bipartisan victory, Mr. Jeffries does not want his fellow Democratic legislators to think he’s not up for a fight.
“When they go low, we should hit back and hit back hard,” Mr. Jeffries said, recasting a line from Michelle Obama’s Democratic convention speech. “But make sure when we hit back, it’s above the belt.”
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Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/nyregion/hakeem-jeffries-house-democratic-leadership.html