Harris and Warren, eyeing 2020, unsure whether to support Trump-backed prison reform

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Former ICE director Tom Homan and Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce react to Sen. Harris' statements.

Presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential candidates currently in Congress are unsure whether to support President Trump-backed criminal justice reform, even as progressive groups endorse it.

For Democrats the question is whether the White House should be getting credit on an issue that until very recently was part of the Democratic platform.

The First Step Act, which would still need to pass the Senate, would overhaul the country’s criminal justice sentencing for the first time in a generation and support rehabilitation efforts for federal prisoners. It also would allow judges to exercise more discretion when sentencing nonviolent offenders, particularly for drug offenses

Prison reform groups particularly welcome the bill because it would reform the federal "three strikes" rule that mandates a life sentence for three or more convictions. Under the new legislation, the convictions would trigger a 25-year sentence instead.

But U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are unsure they will give their nod to the bill when it comes time to vote.

Harris, who recently said she will make her decision whether to run in 2020 during the upcoming holiday season, said she’s still considering whether to support the bill.

She told the Hill that she’s balancing the “ideal” against not letting “perfect be the enemy of the good.”

"Make no mistake: the FIRST STEP Act is not meaningful criminal justice reform, and would be a step backward from our shared goal of ending America’s mass incarceration crisis."

She also signed off on a joint statement in May, saying “Make no mistake: the FIRST STEP Act is not meaningful criminal justice reform, and would be a step backward from our shared goal of ending America’s mass incarceration crisis.”

The statement was also co-signed by another likely 2020 presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. Last month, he released a statement saying he supports it due to the changes made in the Senate’s version of the bill.

Warren, meanwhile, said she’s also unsure about supporting the legislation, indicating that her opposition is due to the bill not going far enough.

Among the supporters of the bill are the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Sentencing Project, and #cut50, an organization founded by Van Jones, who worked with the Trump administration on the proposal.

Despite that, other Democrats are wary of supporting the bill after Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin made a few concessions in an effort to appease Republicans who were on the fence.

“We’re trying to figure out how to expand that list,” Durbin told the Hill, pointing out that crimes involving pornography and sexual predation are excluded from leniency that the bill would allow.

“There are some areas in criminal sentencing that are very important to me and I’ve made three substantial concessions in that area and I’m not going further,” he said.

Other likely 2020 presidential candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, and Jeff Merkley are reportedly satisfied with the bill and will support it.

“All of us would like to see it go further but this is a step in the right direction,” Merkley told the outlet on Tuesday.

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December 06, 2018

Sources: Fox News

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  • Fee for travelling to the EU after Brexit revealed

    Fee for travelling to the EU after Brexit revealed

    orises entry of citizens from certain countries without a visa.</p><p>Millions of Britons travelling to the EU will have to pay €7 (£6.29) for visa-free travel from 2021, a Brussels chief has told Sky News.</p><p>The post-Brexit move was confirmed by European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker.</p><p>Alongside the fee, UK citizens will need to pre-register for the three-year electronic visa waiver.</p><p>The small print of the detailed draft regulation covering visa exemptions for UK citizens travelling to the bloc says that "the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will apply to United Kingdom nationals once union law on free movement of union citizens ceases to apply to them, as to other visa-free third country nationals".</p><p>The maintenance of visa-free travel for short-term visits to the EU, and by all EU citizens to the UK has been heralded by the government and Prime Minister Theresa May as one of the great achievements of the political declaration agreed by EU leaders at the special summit last month.</p><p>In an interview with Sky News at the recent G20 summit in Argentina, the PM was asked whether if the public wanted to avoid the imposition of this charge MPs would have to vote down her deal.</p><p>Mrs May said at the time: "You're talking about what might be an implication of leaving the European Union, I am talking about having negotiated a deal that ensures that we can maintain the good relationship that are good for our citizens across a whole range of areas, it means we are not a member of the EU so we can do our own trade deals around the world, we can end free movement once and for all."</p><p>The EU has already begun to implement the system which preauthorises the entry of citizens from a special list of countries, who do not require full visas.</p><p>"Once ETIAS enters into operation, all visa-exempt non-EU nationals who plan to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply via ETIAS," a European Commission source told Sky News.</p><p>There had been some hopes privately in government and publicly from Conservative Brexit supporting MPs that the UK could negotiate an exemption from the new US-style preregistration and payment requirement.</p><p>Previous suggestions that this scheme would apply had been dismissed as "Project Fear" by Brexiters.</p><p>The change would not have applied if the UK had remained in the EU, and also might be put off if the transition period is extended and EU laws on freedom of movement continue to apply to the UK.</p>

    1 December 14, 2018

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