Casey, Toomey Vote for Criminal Justice Reform Bill
Last night, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a criminal justice reform bill.
Both Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey were apart of the 87 votes in favor of passing what NBC News describes as a “huge” reform bill during the Senate’s final vote.
Every Democrat in the Senate voted in favor of the bill, while all 12 of the “no” votes for the “First Step Act” were Republicans.
Toomey said the bill was an “important bipartisan measure,” but does believe there are “shortcomings” with The First Step Act.
“It will enhance the fairness of certain mandatory minimum sentences and increase public safety by reducing recidivism among offenders. I’m pleased that the First Step Act includes my legislation requiring the Bureau of Prisons to provide a safe means for federal correctional officers to store their personal firearms while at work so that they can protect themselves on their commutes,” Toomey said in a release.
“However, the fact that the First Step Act was not subject to a full and robust amendment process represents a missed opportunity. It’s particularly disappointing that Senate Democrats blocked my amendment to help victims of crime. Nonetheless, the productive reforms contained within the First Step Act outweigh the measure’s shortcomings, which is why I supported its passage,” Toomey said.
Before voting in favor of the bill’s final passage, Toomey voted no on cloture earlier this week.
Burr & Toomey both voted No on cloture on FIRST STEP Act but voted Yes on final passage.
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) December 19, 2018
Today, Toomey shared a video on Twitter expressing the “good provisions” of the bill he voted for, but believes it didn’t do enough to help victims of crime.
First Step Act contains good provisions to improve the CJ system + public safety. But it didn’t do enough to help victims of crime b/c Dems blocked my amdt to stop lawmakers’ raid on the Crime Victims Fund. Victims must get the money they’re owed. More: https://t.co/y9kXbdxiFK
— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) December 19, 2018
Casey lauded the bill in lengthy social media posts today stating he believes it is a “major accomplishment that followed years of work” and “will pave the way for additional reforms.”
President Donald Trump touted his support for the bipartisan bill through Twitter stating he looks forward to signing the law.
America is the greatest Country in the world and my job is to fight for ALL citizens, even those who have made mistakes. Congratulations to the Senate on the bi-partisan passing of a historic Criminal Justice Reform Bill….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
NBC News reports that the House is expected to take up the Senate version of the bill at a later date. In May, the House passed a similar version of the bill, 360-59.