Republicans on the House Oversight Committee and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will use their power to hold D.C. Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser accountable for implementing policies that they believe are hurting the nation’s capital if the GOP wins back the majority, the Daily Caller confirmed Friday.
Congress can exercise authority over DC local affairs, according to the District Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17), and Congress reviews all D.C. legislation before it can become law. Congress can change or even overturn D.C. legislation and can impose new laws on the district.
There has been a surge in violent crime in D.C. throughout 2021. MPD data shows the number of homicides increased 19% in 2020 and has remained constant this year, the Washingtonian reported. Carjackings have tripled since 2019. City vaccine and mask mandates are hurting small businesses and killing jobs.
Lawmakers who come into the city to work from other states have also noticed the increase in tent encampments next to the Capitol Building.
Ranking Member James Comer and the other Republicans on the House Oversight Committee say they will try and fix the list of ongoing problems themselves by using their power on the committee to look into specific issues in the district. (RELATED: Members Of Congress Show Up To The Only Restaurant In DC Defying Mandates)
“All Americans should be safe and welcomed in their nation’s capital, but unfortunately that’s not the case in Democrat-run D.C. Mayor Bowser has abused the levers of power during the pandemic with disastrous consequences. Our nation’s capital has suffered from lockdowns that have destroyed small businesses and jobs, school closures that have locked students out of their classrooms, radical defund-the-police policies that have fueled violent crime and vaccine mandates that are shutting out many Americans, including children, from their capital city and harming the District’s economy,” Comer told the Caller.
“Simply put, D.C. is in crisis because of Democrats’ reckless policies. Oversight Committee Republicans have called on the D.C. mayor repeatedly to address the surge of homelessness and violent crime and to withdraw her unfair vaccine passport, but she has refused. When Republicans are back in power in 2023, we will use tools at our disposal to hold the D.C. mayor accountable for implementing policies that are destroying Americans’ capital city,” he continued.
McCarthy also told the Caller that Republicans will do everything in their power to make D.C. safe again if they win back the majority. (RELATED: Police Arrest 14-Year-Old Girl For Shooting Juvenile On Pennsylvania Ave)
“The rise in armed carjackings, murders, tent cities, and rampant drug use in our nation’s capital is a result of Democrats’ failed policies. This is all taking place under the leadership of a mayor that seems more interested in attending social events, appearing at Starbucks grand openings, masking kids in schools, and crushing small businesses with mandates,” McCarthy said.
“Additionally, the city council is determined to defund the police while D.C. is going through one of the worst crime sprees in years. These conditions are not sustainable – both the city’s residents and visitors, which include many of our constituents, deserve to be safe when living or visiting this city,” he continued.
“It is incomprehensible that Democrats continue to ignore the rising crime while pushing the very policies that have caused these disastrous conditions in D.C. and in major cities across America. If voters entrust Republicans with the majority, we will use our Congressional oversight powers to ensure that we work to restore the security and safety of this city,” McCarthy added.
McCarthy told the Caller’s Vince Coglianese in an interview on WMAL DC that Congress would step in for safety reasons if he is elected Speaker of the House.
“These are the questions that we are raising … You just described DC sounding like it was California … it has gotten so bad. Nothing like this happens overnight, it’s a long-term change, what the Democrats have done by defunding the police, what the Democrats have done about electing DA’s that are picking and choosing what law they want to uphold,” McCarthy said.
“Just last week you had a shooting and a murder in Georgetown. There is not an element of this community that people feel safe in and I don’t care where you live, you should be safe. You should have the right to feel safe, your children should be able to walk to school safely, you should be able to go to the store safely,” McCarthy continued.
“These are the concerns, if it becomes out of hand then there’s got to be better control taken over to provide the safety in the nation’s capital,” he added.
In October, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Bowser regarding the spike in violent crime throughout the city. In it, the lawmakers mentioned the killing of Tarshaqua Chappell in Southeast D.C., the 37- year old who was shot while driving on Sept. 15. They also mention the spike in homelessness in the city.
Bowser announced in July that she is directing the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to use overtime in order to address growing violence in the nation’s capital. (RELATED: House Oversight Republicans Demand DC Mayor Bowser Answer For Rise In Violent Crime, Homelessness)
Republican Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, a member of the House Oversight Committee, mentioned the crime, homelessness and open drug use. He also told the Caller that he is working on legislation to repeal the District of Columbia Home Rule Act.
The District of Columbia Home Rule Act passed Congress in 1973 and transferred certain congressional powers over the District of Columbia to local government.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution allowed for the creation of a “District,” but the Home Rule Act gave the city an elected mayor and a 13-member district council. Repealing the Home Rule Act would mean the federal goverment would again have full control over the district.
“For years on end, the left has continuously demanded D.C. statehood, a politically motivated and wholly unconstitutional proposal that would radically revolutionize the balance of power in Congress to consolidate Democrats’ control over Americans’ lives. But beyond the conventional concerns, D.C.’s unseemly and declining status proves its leaders are unfit to properly maintain our nation’s capital,” Clyde told the Caller.
Clyde also mentioned a veteran-owned restaurant in the district, The Big Board, that has been shut down for not following Bowser’s Jan. 15 mandate ordering all businesses to require patrons 12 years and older to provide proof of receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“From skyrocketing crime and out-of-control homelessness to widespread open hard drug use and unreliable public transportation, it is blatantly obvious that D.C. is in desperate need of capable, effective and proactive leadership. For a glaring example, look no further than Mayor Bowser’s use of draconian mandates to shut down a veteran-owned restaurant, Big Board, over unscientific and illogical rules – cementing that her thirst for power and control over the daily lives of D.C.’s residents knows no bounds,” Clyde continued.
“It’s past time for Congress to repeal the District of Columbia Home Rule Act and reclaim its duty, specifically outlined in Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution, to manage the affairs of our nation’s capital. As an actively engaged member on the Committee of jurisdiction, the House Oversight and Reform Committee, I’m working closely with my Republican colleagues on legislation to fulfill that goal,” he added.
Republican Texas Rep. Michael Cloud also mentioned Congress’s authority over D.C., saying keeping the government in check will be a priority of Republicans on the House Oversight Committee.
“When fellow citizens visit our nation’s capital, the capital they fund with their hard-earned tax dollars, they deserve to see it taken care of and to not worry about being denied service if they’re unvaccinated,” Rep. Cloud told the Caller.
“Allowing Mayor Bowser to treat this city as her own social experiment is unacceptable. The Constitution gives Congress full-authority over our nation’s capital. Congress allowed the D.C. government home rule to manage trash collection and other local affairs. It was never intended to put the D.C. Mayor in command. Keeping the D.C. government in check will surely be a priority of Republicans on the Oversight Committee when the gavels are in our hands,” he added.
The Caller contacted Bowser’s office with a number of questions regarding Republicans’ efforts to fix issues in the nation’s capital. The Caller also asked what she is currently doing to fix the spike in crime, homelessness, tent encampments and more, to which they did not respond.