Blumenauer Statement on Passage of First Step Act

December 20, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – The House today passed the First Step Act, a bipartisan bill to reform the criminal justice system, after the Senate approved the bill earlier this week. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), leading advocate in Congress for drug policy reform, issued the following statement:

“This bill is called the First Step Act for a reason as it is merely the first step toward long overdue reform. After decades, it is time to finally address the worst aspects of this broken system like mandatory minimums, unreasonable sentences, and programs to reduce recidivism rates.

Those who are actually looking to champion criminal justice reform should work with us on key elements surrounding our outdated federal marijuana policy, like federal decriminalization and expungement for non-violent drug offenses. Congress needs to do more to transform our justice system from punitive to rehabilitative. I’ll support this bill, but again, this is just the first step. This has a relatively small impact on our nationwide issue of mass incarceration and we are long overdue to fix this unfair, expensive and ineffective system. We can’t stop here.”