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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Biden says he will sign bill overturning DC criminal code overhaul

Mar 03, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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President Biden announced he will sign a bill that overturns the D.C. City Council’s overhaul of the district’s criminal code. The president said he supports the district’s statehood and home rule, but does not support the law that lowers many penalties and mandatory minimum sentences for some of the worst crimes.

The bill is being heavily criticized on a bipartisan basis for lowering maximum penalties for murders, armed home invasion burglaries, and some sexual assault offenses. 

Now, Democrats are criticizing Biden for saying he’ll overturn the law, despite also saying he supports the district’s statehood. The White House said his decision to sign the law is not a flip or a contradiction.

“This is not a legislation that he put forward. D.C. is not yet a state even though he supports D.C. statehood and he had to make a decision,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “He believes in keeping the 700,000 residents in D.C. safe so he’s taking that action.”

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser is against the criminal reform bill. Bowser vetoed it and that veto was overturned by the council. But even though Bowser opposes the crime bill, she is also against the federal government overturning what the district does at the local level.

Because District of Columbia is not a state, Congress and the president have the power to review and override actions by the City Council. The House of Representatives already voted on a bipartisan basis to override the criminal reform bill, and the Senate appears on track to do the same next week. 

Many House Democrats are frustrated that they voted against overturning the bill, thinking they were in line with President Biden. 

DC has a right to govern itself, like any other state or municipality. If the President supports DC statehood, he should govern like it,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted.

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President Biden says he will sign a bill that overturns the D.C. city council’s overhaul of the district’s criminal code. 

The President says he supports D.C. statehood and home rule, but does not support the law that lowers many penalties and mandatory minimum sentences for some of the worst crimes. 

 

The bill is being heavily criticized on a bipartisan basis for lowering maximum penalties for murders, armed home invasion burglaries, and some sexual assault offenses. 

 

Karine Jean Pierre: “This is not a legislation that he put forward, DC is not yet a state even though he supports DC statehood and he had to make a decision.He believes in keeping the 700,000 residents in DC safe so he’s taking that action.”  

President Biden is being criticized by some democrats for saying he’ll override the local DC statute. For instance, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is against the criminal reform bill, she vetoed it, and that veto was overturned by the council. But even though she opposes the crime bill, she’s also against the federal government having the power to overturn what the district does at the local level. 

 

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez tweeted: DC has a right to govern itself, like any other state or municipality. If the President supports DC statehood, he should govern like it.

 

Because DC is not a state, Congress and the President have the power to review and override actions by the city council. The House of Representatives already voted on a bipartisan basis to override the criminal reform bill, and the Senate appears on track to do the same next week. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.