A resolution of disapproval that would invalidate a recent revision to the criminal code in Washington, DC, was approved by the US Senate on Wednesday under Republican leadership. As promised, President Joe Biden will sign the bill, marking the first time in more than 30 years that the federal government has reversed a DC ordinance.
There were only 14 Democrats who voted against the proposal. Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from Georgia, cast a present vote. The resolution was backed by every Republican present, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the great majority of Democrats in the chamber.
That’s in spite of the fact that practically every Democratic senator supports granting statehood to the District of Columbia, which would give the city representation in Congress and protect it from future congressional interference.
The Senate decision puts an end to what has turned into a complicated situation for congressional Democrats.
Under federal law, Congress has the authority to veto amendments to local criminal statutes in Washington, DC, if they are enacted within 60 days. Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia introduced the resolution of disapproval in the Republican-led House following the adoption of the new legislation in January.
The Biden administration asked Democratic members to respect the District of Columbia’s ability to regulate its own local affairs and vote against the resolution as the bill was put to a vote in the House last month. All Democrats—all but 31—did so.
Before the bill reached the Senate, however, Biden changed his mind and said last week that he would sign the measure if it passed. By doing this, he avoided the possibility of having to issue a presidential veto and gave a larger group of Senate Democrats implicit permission to support overturning the law.
Residents Furious About DC Criminal Code
As the US Senate prepares to reject the district’s effort to update its criminal code, residents of the nation’s capital told Fox News that local elected authorities and community people should have the power to choose the city’s rules.
The city council overrode the mayor’s veto of a piece of municipal legislation that was passed and which would have lessened the punishments for certain offenses, such as carjackings, robberies, and break-ins. Residents of Washington came out in support of statehood for the district on Wednesday before the Senate voted to override the city’s new criminal law, which ultimately passed 81–14.
Like many US communities, the nation’s capital has recently struggled with an increase in crime. According to figures from the Metropolitan Police Department, homicides have increased by 32% year to far, while auto thefts have increased by more than twice as much. From 2021 and 2022, there was a drop in overall crime, but the district’s crime rate remained high for several offenses.
Congress has authority over the District of Columbia under the Constitution. But it has been decades since Congress invalidated a district law. Furthermore, Biden declared that if the bill came to his desk, he would not veto it. While Biden has typically opposed Congress changing local laws and has favored DC statehood, he tweeted that he couldn’t support some aspects of the crime measure.