Senate Republicans Push to Overturn DC Crime Law

Senate Republicans Push to Overturn DC Crime Law

( – Washington, DC, is facing a surge in violent crime. Still, the city’s council is pretending it’s not happening. They’ve just passed a law that would reduce penalties for many crimes, including violent ones. Congressional Republicans are now trying to overrule the council and scrap the law –- and many Democrats are backing them.

On January 17, the Washington, DC, City Council voted to override a mayoral veto of a controversial new crime bill. The bill eliminates mandatory minimum sentences for all crimes except first-degree murder and reduces maximum penalties for offenses including carjackings, burglary, and possession or use of handguns by convicted felons. It’s so egregiously bad that the ultra-liberal Washington Post says it could make the city more dangerous. Even left-wing mayor Muriel Bowser is opposed to it –- she vetoed it when it landed on her desk for signature.

Now Republicans are trying to bring the city council to heel. On February 9, House Republicans forced a vote to overturn the bill and won a crushing 250 to 173 victory. Thirty-one Democrats voted with the GOP, including Representative Angie Craig (D-MN), who was assaulted in her DC apartment building the morning of the vote.

Republicans in the Senate are now preparing to hold their own vote on the bill, and all 49 have already pledged to vote to overturn it. They’ll likely win the vote because only two Democrats need to vote with them to get a majority, and at least one –- Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has already said he’s considering it. Six more Dems are refusing to commit to defending the crime bill, and of course, there’s former Democrat Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), who has never been afraid of voting against her old party.

President Joe Biden has already said he’s opposed to Congress overturning DC legislation but hasn’t indicated if he’ll veto the House and Senate bills. He’s now facing a dilemma; he’s made no secret of supporting DC’s legislative independence, but defying Congress over this could make him look weak on law and order –- an issue the Democrats are already struggling with going into 2024.

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