From time to time, the president invites a close group of influential Christian leaders to dine with him in the White House. These gatherings mostly offer a chance for selfies and mutual adoration. But they also give pastors the chance to float ideas past the president. The beginnings of the FIRST STEP Act came about during a conversation at one such dinner, according to Religion News Service. Jentezen Franklin, a Georgia megachurch pastor, told me that Trump’s advisers started talking to him about this issue before he was even elected.
A bill incorporating some of these ideas was introduced in May 2018. But even with resoundingly positive support in the House—it passed by a vote of 360–59—it lost momentum in the Senate, and appeared to be dead. Major Republican losses