Senate Passes Legislation To Block DC’s Anti-Cop Law

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
Font Size:

The U.S. Senate passed legislation Tuesday to block the Washington, D.C., City Council’s Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2022.

The Daily Caller first obtained the House version of the legislation in March. The legislation focuses on the D.C. crime law, which reduces police power amid rising crime in the district. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) faces a historic staffing shortage and has struggled to recruit new officers.

Republican Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance introduced legislation Thursday to block the D.C. police reform bill.

The legislation passed the House 229-189. Fourteen Democrats voted with Republicans in passing the bill. Republican Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde originally led the effort. (RELATED: House Passes Legislation To Block DC’s Anti-Cop Law)

The vote in the Senate was 56-43. Eight Democrats voted with Republicans in passing the legislation: Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Angus King of Maine, Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, an independent who voted with the Democratic caucus.

“On this National Police Week, the Senate passed my resolution to repeal the D.C. Council’s anti-police law with bipartisan support — sending a resounding message that Congress will always back the blue,” Rep. Clyde told the Caller in an exclusive statement. “This is an incredible victory, as the Council’s deceptive legislation has dangerously obstructed the Metropolitan Police Department’s ability to both effectively protect Americans in Washington and recruit and retain officers.”

“Now that Congress has used its constitutional authority to strike down the Council’s severely misguided law, it’s up to President Biden to abandon his veto threat and sign H.J.Res. 42 into law,” he continued. “Failure to do so will not only worsen Washington’s crime crisis by having fewer officers on the force, but will also demonstrate that the President favors emboldening violent criminals over supporting our brave men and women in blue.”

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.

“Today’s bipartisan win also marks the second time in a matter of weeks that Congress has used its exclusive legislative authority over D.C. — a challenging feat that, prior to this year, was not successfully exercised in thirty years,” Clyde added. “As Americans count on this institution to correct the failures of D.C.’s local leadership, I remain committed to restoring Congress’ full constitutional authority to manage Washington. Our Founders would expect nothing less — and Americans deserve nothing less.”

The MPD has lost more than 1,100 officers since January 2020 and is currently operating in an officer deficit. (RELATED: Senate Moves To Repeal DC’s Anti-Police Law)

The U.S. Senate in March passed a resolution of disapproval to block the Washington, D.C., City Council’s Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022, which would lower penalties for a number of violent criminal offenses. The Caller first broke the news of the legislation Feb. 2. The vote was 81-14, and a total of 33 Democrats voted with Republicans to pass the bill. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House, Senate GOP To Start ‘DC Home Rule’ Vote To Block District’s New Crime Law)

The D.C. Council approved the Revised Criminal Code Act (RCCA) in November 2022. The RCCA reduces penalties for certain violent criminal offenses, including carjackings, robberies and homicides. Democratic D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser vetoed the bill Jan. 4, but the council overrode her veto Jan. 17 by a vote of 12-1.

“Today’s vote is a victory for the safety and security of every American who visits our nation’s capital,” Sen. Vance told the Caller after the bill passed. “It is also a strong statement in support of the hardworking men and women of DC’s Metropolitan Police Department. With this vote, Congress has sent President Biden a clear and bipartisan message: the American people have rejected the radical left and they want to see law and order in Washington.”

The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk.