President Joe Biden angered the more progressive wing of his party on Monday by signing legislation that overturns the DC crime bill.
The Republican-led bill passed through the Senate, 81-14, with the support of 33 Democrats. It marks the first time in three decades that Congress and the president blocked DC-passed legislation.
It’s official: Biden signs the bill nullifying the DC crime code overhaul, first time federal government has formally overruled a local law in decades.
Biden also signed the Covid-19 origins act, which had passed the House 419-0 and by unanimous consent in the Senate. pic.twitter.com/e4prRbLAUs
— Tim Hanrahan (@TimJHanrahan) March 20, 2023
According to a report from The Hill, “Republicans championed the resolution of disapproval that would block the implementation of the D.C. law, which aimed to eliminate most mandatory sentences, lower penalties for a number of violent offenses like carjackings and robberies, and expand the requirement for jury trials in most misdemeanor cases.”
Sens. Cory Booker, Ben Cardin, Tammy Duckworth, Mazie Hirono, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Chris Murphy, Jack Reed, Chris Van Hollen, Sheldon Whitehouse, Elizabeth Warren, Peter Welch, and Richard Durbin opposed the bill, as well as Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Carjackings and car thefts have become a daily routine. Homicides are racking up at a rate of four per week,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said during a speech on the Senate floor in support of the resolution earlier this month. “This is our capital city. But local politicians have let its streets become a danger and an embarrassment.”
The bill, many Democrats argued, stands in opposition to their support of DC statehood and home rule.
In a tweet at the time of the passing through the House earlier this month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “we’re disappointed that the Senate voted to repeal DC’s crime bill. Congress doesn’t make legislative decisions for any other city in the United States. There’s no reason why DC should be any different. Residents and elected officials of DC have the right to govern themselves.”
We’re disappointed that the Senate voted to repeal DC’s crime bill. Congress doesn’t make legislative decisions for any other city in the United States. There’s no reason why DC should be any different. Residents and elected officials of DC have the right to govern themselves.
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) March 9, 2023
Mayor Muriel Bowser had previously vetoed the crime bill but was overridden by D.C. City Council, who had unanimously passed it in January.