(LibertySociety.com) – On Monday, March 20th, 2023, President Biden signed bipartisan legislation to prevent the new criminal code in Washington D.C. from going into effect. Although the Washington D.C. City Council withdrew the new criminal code after it became known that President Biden would not veto it, his signature sends a message of disapproval of the changes that were wanted by the City Council. Mayor Muriel Bowser vetoed the legislation, but her veto was ultimately overridden by the Council, prompting Congress to take action.
Normally, Congress does not have to intervene in the decisions of the city’s government, but they do have the authority to do so when necessary. On March 8th, 2023, the Senate voted 81-14 to overturn the new criminal code, signaling a large bipartisan disapproval of the actions of the city government. Members of the D.C. City Council, including Chairman Phil Mendelson, are not happy about Congress intervening in decisions made by the city, but expectations of further intervention are high.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Ca., along with many other Republicans, applauded the decision of President Biden to sign the legislation, with Speaker McCarthy releasing a statement framing the president’s decision as the end of a “soft-on-crime criminal code rewrite that treated violent criminals like victims and discarded the views of law enforcement.” When the legislation initially passed, Speaker McCarthy also signaled that there would be more to come in the effort to put a stop to the policies of the Washington D.C. government.
The bill would have reduced penalties for many crimes that are prevalent in Washington D.C., including carjackings, robberies, and burglaries. The day that the Senate passed the legislation, an attempted carjacking allegedly occurred right next to a group of protestors opposing the legislation, which was reported by journalist Andrew Leyden on Twitter. Outside of homicides, crime has been on the rise in Washington D.C. over the last several years, prompting lawmakers to continuously scrutinize the governing of the city.
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