Senate Has 0 Plans To Interfere With DC Assisted Suicide Law

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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The Senate has zero plans to interfere with a local assisted suicide law passed by the D.C. City Council.

While the House Committee on Oversight voted to strike down the local law Monday, the Senate still needs to step in, though it’s unlikely that that will take place by Friday, DCist reports.

For starters, the full House vote still has to happen Friday. But even if it does, the Senate has not scheduled any kind of mark-up, and GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said that “It’s not going to happen.”

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Death with Dignity Act in December, which would grant physicians the authority to give lethal medication to patients who are set to die within six months from terminal illness.

Due to the Home Rule Act, any legislation passed by the D.C. City Council undergoes an automatic 30-day review period, in which Congress has the option of overturning the bill.

In this case, House Committee on Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz brought up the assisted suicide bill for review, arguing that the practice was morally wrong on a fundamental level.

“I worry that assisted suicide will create a marketplace for death,” Chaffetz said.

He also remarked that he’s worried about inaccurate diagnoses leading to unnecessary deaths.

The committee voted 22-14 against the bill.

Chaffetz’s last attempt to invoke the disapproval resolution process to strike down D.C. legislation in 2015 was the first attempt in more than 20 years to overturn local legislation in D.C.

While the disapproval resolution passed the House, the Senate ignored it.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said the reason she’s fighting for the assisted suicide bill is not so much because she believes in assisted suicide, but rather because she’s an advocate of local governance.

“How I feel about the law is irrelevant,” Norton said. “My job is to protect the District’s home rule.”

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