Today, the Problem Solvers Caucus applauded the passage of the FIRST Step Act, which now heads to the President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. The bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation, which passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, will strengthen our communities, improve the lives of thousands and save taxpayers money. Earlier this year, the Problem Solvers Caucus met with Administration officials, Congressional leaders and advocacy organizations, and decided to support this bipartisan legislation.
Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23) said, “When Members of Congress reach across the aisle and work together the American people win. The current prison system is not fair for those released or the neighborhoods they return to. We are proud to overhaul the federal sentencing system to lower mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes – excluding dangerous heroin and fentanyl, expand job training and boost early-release opportunities.”
Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) said, “This is the kind of common sense and bipartisan legislating that America wants to see. Everyone agrees we should be keeping people from leaving prison only to go right back, costing taxpayers a fortune. It is time we invest in preventing a revolving prison door. We should prevent massive disparities in our sentencing guidelines for nonviolent offenders. Knowing this, months ago, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries approached me and said, ‘I think this is an issue the Problem Solvers Caucus should take up,’ and he told Jared Kushner the same thing. That’s why Jared and Van Jones made the Problem Solvers Caucus one of their first stops in the House back in April, because we are able to offer a group tailor-made to constructive engagement and action on issues that just make sense. I commend Members of both parties for their important work on this critical issue.”
Congressman John Faso (NY-19) said, “The First STEP Act is a historic bipartisan reform that will increase community safety, reduce recidivism, and make federal sentencing laws more fair. All of this will be accomplished while ensuring violent criminals and drug traffickers serve their time. I’m proud of the diverse coalition that brought this legislation together and it’s widely bipartisan enactment.”
Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) said, “We are long overdue to reform our criminal justice system and this legislation is an important first step. It’s overwhelming bipartisan passage shows what is possible when Members of Congress put aside party differences and are willing to compromise for the greater good.”
Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) said, “I’m proud to cast my vote in support of the FIRST STEP Act with my fellow Problem Solvers Caucus members. As a former FBI agent, I understand criminal justice reform is critically important to reducing crime and recidivism. This bipartisan measure demonstrates our investment and confidence in our fellow Americans. While there is still more work to accomplish, this vote marks a generational shift towards a criminal justice system that establishes a more practical, efficient rehabilitative framework to keep communities safe. I appreciate the tireless work of bipartisan advocates, my colleagues, and members of the Administration who made today’s positive outcome a reality.”
Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) said, “I’m incredibly proud of the work the Problem Solvers Caucus did to pull together both parties to generate momentum for passage of this bill. The support for the criminal justice reform bill exemplifies the change we can facilitate when we focus on bipartisan solutions to our toughest challenges.”
Congressman Fred Upton (MI-6) said, “This bipartisan bill marks the first significant improvements to the federal criminal justice system in decades. As I’ve heard from my local leaders, this effort will protect public safety while also helping inmates earn a second chance at life. We are taking a very positive step today by cutting recidivism, encouraging job training, education, mental health, and substance abuse treatments for those incarcerated, and making our criminal justice system fairer.”
The Problem Solvers Caucus is a bipartisan group in Congress comprised of 48 members – equally divided between Democrats and Republicans – who are committed to forging bipartisan cooperation on key issues. It is Co-Chaired by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY).