The House Judiciary Committee voted 25-5 to back the "First Step Act," a shocking turn after the media had earlier written off chances that it would pass.
"We see it as a big win," said an administration official involved in the talks between House Republicans and Democrats.
While it falls short of everything both sides had sought, especially sentencing reforms wanted by Democrats, some in the White House see the negotiations as a compromise "model" for future legislative projects.
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said, "The president and his administration are pleased the House Judiciary Committee has voted to pass prison reform legislation. This is a bipartisan issue with bipartisan support because studies show this bill will reduce crime and save taxpayer dollars. We are encouraged by the committee's passage of the bill and look forward to a vote in the full House."