Senate Passes Legislation To Block DC’s New Crime Law, Heads To Biden’s Desk For Signature

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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The U.S. Senate passed a resolution of disapproval on Wednesday to block the Washington, D.C., Council’s Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022, which would lower penalties for a number of violent criminal offenses.

The Daily Caller first broke the news on the legislation on Feb. 2. The vote was 81-14. A total of 33 Democrats voted with Republicans to pass the bill.

Republican Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde reacted to the vote in an exclusive statement to the Caller.

“Against all odds, my resolution to block the D.C. Council’s radical rewrite of the criminal code passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support. This is a tremendous victory, as it ensures every American can safely enjoy our nation’s capital city. I thank my colleagues in both chambers for supporting my common sense resolution, and I urge President Biden to swiftly sign the measure—as he promised the nation last week,” Clyde said.

President Joe Biden said he would sign the legislation if it passed the Senate in a Thursday tweet.

“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,” Biden said.

“Furthermore, this marks the first time in thirty years that Congress has effectively used its exclusive legislative authority over D.C. Despite the Council’s efforts to worsen the crime crisis by emboldening dangerous criminals, Congress quickly acted to protect Americans and restore law and order in Washington. Both the Council’s inability to govern and the sweeping bipartisan support for striking down the Council’s law underscore the need for Congress to retake its full constitutional authority to manage Washington’s affairs as our Founders intended,” Clyde told the Caller.

Congress can exercise authority over D.C. 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. The legislation passed the House in February in a 250-173 vote. It was spearheaded by Clyde.

In November 2022, the D.C. Council approved the Revised Criminal Code Act (RCCA). The RCCA reduces penalties for certain violent criminal offenses, including carjackings, robberies, and homicides. Democratic Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser vetoed the bill on Jan. 4. The council then overrode Bowser’s veto Jan. 17 by a vote of 12-1. (RELATED: House Passes Legislation To Block DC’s New Crime Law)

Here Are The 14 Democrats/Independents Who Voted Against The Legislation:

  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin
  • Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth
  • Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin
  • Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono
  • Massachusets Sen. Ed Markey
  • Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley
  • Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy
  • Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed
  • Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen
  • Vermont Sen. Peter Welch
  • Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
  • Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden

Violent crime in D.C. surged throughout 2021. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) data shows that the number of homicides increased 19% in 2020 and remained constant into 2021, the Washingtonian reported. Carjackings have tripled since 2019. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Oversight Republicans, Kevin McCarthy Plan November Surprise For DC Mayor Bowser)

In March of 2022, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Bowser calling on her to provide them with a plan for how she will address the rampant violent crime in the nation’s capital.

The Caller first obtained the March letter spearheaded by ranking member Rep. James Comer of Kentucky and signed by all Republicans on the committee. In the letter, the lawmakers criticized Bowser and D.C. Democrats for cutting the budget for the MPD. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Oversight Republicans Demand Mayor Bowser Provide Plan To Address Rampant Violent Crime In Nation’s Capital)