ESSENTIAL #1: “MITCH MCCONNELL, IN REVERSAL, SAYS SENATE WILL VOTE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILL” DEBORAH BARFIELD BERRY, ELIZA COLLINS AND HERB JACKSON, USA TODAY
From the article: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a shift, announced Tuesday the Senate would take up a long-awaited bipartisan bill that aims to reduce the number of people in the nation's crowded prisons.
‘At the request of the president and following improvements to the legislation that have been secured by several members, the Senate will take up the revised criminal justice bill this month,’ the Kentucky Republican said. He said he would turn to it as early as the end of the week.”
ESSENTIAL #2: “TRUMP’S EVANGELICAL ADVISORS COULD HELP HIM SECURE A WIN ON SENTENCING REFORM” EMMA GREEN, THE ATLANTIC
From the article: “Long-stalled legislation on sentencing reform may squeeze through Congress in the last few weeks of this session. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday that the Senate will take up the first step Act, which would create some flexibility around sentencing and release for certain inmates held in federal prisons. President Donald Trump has been a major backer of the bill—’Go for it Mitch!’ he tweeted on Friday. Successful legislation would be a major bipartisan victory for the White House.
Along the way, one group in particular has been pushing for passage of these reforms: Trump’s circle of evangelical advisers, who helped inspire the bill. White, conservative Christian leaders are now in a position to help deliver a bipartisan compromise that could soften thousands of people’s sentences, largely those for drug-related offenses. Their African American and liberal counterparts, meanwhile, have felt conflicted about collaborating with the administration, even on a topic they care about deeply.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “UK PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY WINS CONFIDENCE VOTE” HOLLY ELLYATT, CNBC
From the article: “U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has won a crucial vote of confidence in her leadership on Wednesday evening.
May won the leadership challenge by 200 votes to 117 votes against her in the ballot of Conservative members of parliament (MPs). The pound rose about 1 percent on the news.
May needed a simple majority (at least 159 out of 315 Conservative MPs) to win the confidence vote. Winning this vote means her leadership cannot be challenged for another year now.”
ESSENTIAL #4: “TRUMP STARES DOWN DEMS IN WALL FIGHT: ‘PROUD TO SHUT DOWN GOVERNMENT FOR BORDER SECURITY” STEPHEN DINAN, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
From the article: “President Trump said Tuesday he would be ‘proud’ to shut the government down unless he gets a massive infusion of cash to build his border wall, and suggested if Congress doesn’t concede, he would use the military to erect more fencing anyway.
Democrats on Capitol Hill said the president would be creating a constitutional crisis if he tries to rope the Pentagon into his wall plans over the objection of Congress — and countered with red lines of their own, saying they won’t pony up a single new dollar for Trump-style border security.”