HomeUS News updateSenate set to overturn D.C.'s controversial crime law changes, splitting Democrats

Senate set to overturn D.C.’s controversial crime law changes, splitting Democrats

WASHINGTON — The Washington, D.C., Senate is set to vote Wednesday to overturn criminal law changes passed by the Council, a Republican-led measure that has divided Democrats and could undermine the movement for statehood.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. told reporters, “I’m going to vote yes. It was a close question, but overall I’m voting yes.”

Many Democrats are expected to join Schumer in supporting the disapproval measure, and it is certain to pass. But others, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., say they will vote to reject it on policy grounds and on the grounds of supporting Washington’s sovereignty.

“These are sensible proposals for updating a criminal justice code that has not been changed since 1901. And the changes are in line with most states in this country. Second, I believe in DC Home Rule. And third, the district itself is trying to veto the bill, and Congress’s efforts are a way to go ahead and give power to the more than 700,000 people who should have their own statehood to vote anyway. ,” Warren said in an interview.

The issue has Democrats tied in knots. NBC Washington reported that the D.C. Council adopted changes late last year to remove most mandatory minimum sentences and reduce mandatory maximum penalties. Mayor Muriel Bowser vetoed it, only to have her veto overridden. Then, despite opposing the new law, he called on Congress to stay out and not interfere in local affairs, citing Washington’s sovereignty.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., urged his colleagues to read the crime bill before voting on it during a Democratic luncheon on Tuesday.

Booker said of his speech at the caucus, “I’m just saying, I’ve never seen anything like it in my 10 years.” “When you actually read the bill, comparing it to other states’ criminal codes, it’s amazing to me that somehow it’s distorted and perverted, which is something that’s meant to impose punishment on people who do bad things.” There is looseness.”

President Joe Biden shocked many Democrats last week when he told Senate Democrats in a closed-door lunch meeting that he would sign the bill to block it — even as he called for state and declared his support for “home rule”.

Biden’s position comes as he seeks to blunt the GOP’s political assault on Democrats on crime ahead of the expected launch of his re-election campaign. Biden has sought to distance himself from some left-wing and tough-on-crime measures.

“Under the president’s leadership, Democrats are taking a complete retreat on the issue of DC criminal law,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., an opponent of DC statehood, told reporters. He said the Washington crime law “represents a perfect time for federal intervention to protect our constituents and our employees.”

Following Biden’s announcement, D.C. Council President Phil Mendelson urged Congress to withdraw the measure to block the vote, but Senate leadership aides said it was too late to withdraw.

Two Democratic senators from neighboring Maryland – Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen – said they would vote against the rejection bill, citing home rule. But two Democrats from neighboring Virginia – Tim Kaine and Mark Warner – say they will vote to overturn the felony law.

Further complicating matters, Sen. Tom Capper, D-Del., the lead sponsor of the state’s legislation, said he would step in and vote to undo the new law.

“They’ve asked us to literally roll back the bill,” he said.

Some Democrats who support D.C. statehood aren’t sold, with Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who faces re-election in 2024, said, “I think D.C. has to do it again.” “

Baldwin said, “I support DC statehood, and yet they’re not a state yet and we have those responsibilities.” “And a representative’s highest calling is to keep his constituents safe … whether it’s back in Wisconsin or whether it’s Wisconsinites coming to visit or staff members who live here.”

Other supporters of statehood opposed the vote requiring Washington’s sovereignty to write its own laws.

The Republican-led House voted 250-173 last month to block the measure — all 173 opponents were Democrats.

Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, nonrepresentative of Washington, denounced the bill and rebuked Biden for announcing he would sign it, calling it “a sad affront to D.C. home rule and the right of D.C. residents to self-governance.” day” said.

Even Biden’s staunchest allies in the Democratic leadership say the White House mishandled the issue. Among them is Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, who said the White House sent “mixed signals” and could have communicated better.

“He gave a signal that prompted House Democrats to take some action. And when the president came to the Senate he took a different stance,” he said. “Speaks for itself.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments