Senate Votes To Advance Criminal Justice Bill

A criminal justice reform bill has passed its first test, with the Senate voting 82-12 to end debate and advance to a vote. 

The bill, which has bipartisan backing as well as support from the White House, would relax federal sentencing laws for certain drug offenders, and offer time off to inmates who complete education or vocational programs. 

Some Republicans fear the bill will be 'soft" on criminal offenders, but Texas Senator John Cornyn said the bill is not about being tough or soft on crime, but about being smart on crime. 

The Senate will begin hearing possible amendments and could hold a final vote on the bill as early as Tuesday. 

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