The bill that wouldn’t die: The unlikely story behind the criminal justice overhaul
by Jeremy Diamond and Alex Rogers, CNN | 12.21.18
A Democratic blockade
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries didn’t want to be seen at the White House.
The New York Democrat represents parts of Brooklyn, one of the most anti-Trump districts in the country, and he was wary about the message his presence at the White House would send. So in the spring, when Kushner asked Jeffries to meet him at his office in the West Wing, he and Rep. Cedric Richmond, the Louisiana Democrat who’s the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, refused. Instead, on March 22, Kushner came to them on Capitol Hill for breakfast. Jeffries, who had been working with Richmond on overhauling the criminal justice system for years, saw it as an early sign that Kushner was serious about the issue.
“It’s clear that some elements on the hard-left unleashed everything, including the kitchen sink, to try to stop the criminal justice reform effort in the House based on the worldview of all or nothing,” Jeffries told CNN. “In the House, we took the position that in order to break the back of the prison industrial complex we needed to begin with a significant, robust bipartisan effort around prison reform that could lay the foundation to get something done.”