President Joe Biden expressed that he wouldn’t veto a Republican-led Congressional measure to block a new Washington, D.C., crime law.
The president made the remarks to Senate Democrats on Thursday, Politico reported, citing two officials. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed Biden will sign the measure to block the law because of his commitment to “safety.”
I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule – but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections – such as lowering penalties for carjackings.
If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did – I’ll sign it.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 2, 2023
“He’s putting the safety of the people of D.C. first,” Jean-Pierre said at Thursday’s press conference.
On Thursday afternoon, Biden said he supports “D.C. Statehood and home-rule” but that he does not support “lowering penalties for carjackings.”
“If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did — I’ll sign it,” he said.
The D.C. crime law — called the “Council’s Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022” — would lower penalties for a number of violent criminal offenses including carjackings and robberies.
Democratic Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser vetoed the bill from going into place on Jan. 4, citing concerns from D.C. residents and “partners in the public safety and criminal justice community” in a city already plagued by violent crime and carjackings.
The D.C. council overrode Bowser’s veto by a vote of 12-1.
Republican Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde and Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty then introduced a resolution of disapproval to block the law from going into place in February. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House, Senate GOP To Start ‘DC Home Rule’ Vote To Block District’s New Crime Law)
Congress has the authority to review, modify or overturn all Washington, D.C., legislation before it becomes law, according to the District Clause of the Constitution.
“The D.C. Council’s radical rewrite of the criminal code threatens the well-being of both Washingtonians and visitors — making our nation’s capital city a safe haven for violent criminals,” Clyde told the Caller in February. “In response to this dangerous and severely misguided measure, it’s now up to Congress to save our nation’s capital from itself.”
The House passed the resolution of disapproval in a vote of 250-173 on Feb. 9.
Biden’s reported decision means the crime law’s fate will be left to the Senate. Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has already expressed that he would vote for the disapproval, leaving the law’s passage contingent on no other Democrats voting against it.