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DC Council withdraws criminal code reform bill ahead of Senate vote

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Just days after an unlikely alliance formed between President Biden and congressional Republicans, the D.C. Council announced it is withdrawing legislation that would reform the district’s criminal code. The withdrawal of the legislation comes just ahead of a Senate vote that was likely going to reject the bill. And after the House already rejected the criminal reforms, Washington D.C. decided to pull the bill completely in hopes of reworking the legislation and eventually resubmitting it.

“It’s clear that Congress is intending to override that legislation and so my letter, just as I transmit bills for their review, withdraws from consideration the review,” D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said on Monday. “It’s quite clear to me that the headwinds that have prevailed in Congress are about the politics of next year’s election, not what’s in this bill. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation.’

The bill had no future with bipartisan agreement that the criminal reforms went too far, such as lowering maximum penalties for murders, armed home invasion burglaries, and some sexual assault offenses. The president said last week he would sign the bill, overturning the overhaul of the criminal code.

The recent controversy had reignited the debate over the district’s statehood. The Constitution gives Congress and the president the power to override the City Council’s actions.

For more on the debate of whether Washington, D.C., should have the right to make its own laws without congressional oversight, check out the report from Straight Arrow News’ Political Correspondent Ray Bogan here.

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