House, Senate GOP To Start ‘DC Home Rule’ Vote To Block District’s New Crime Law

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According to legislation obtained first by The Daily Caller, Andrew Clyde, Republican Georgia Representative, and Sen. Bill Hagerty, Senator from Tennessee, will present a joint resolution of approval to block the Washington, D.C. Council’s Revised Criminal Code Act of 20022. This would lower penalties for a variety of violent criminal offenses.
Clyde will present the House version Thursday. Sources with knowledge confirm that Hagerty will present the Senate companion next Wednesday, according to Caller.

The District Clause of Constitution (Article 1, Section 8 Clause 17) allows Congress to exercise jurisdiction over D.C.’s local affairs. Before any legislation can be made law, Congress reviews it. The Congress can amend or repeal D.C. legislation, and may impose new laws in the district.

The Revised Criminal Code Act (RCCA) was approved by the D.C. Council in November 2022. The RCCA lowers penalties for certain violent crimes, such as carjackings and robberies. On Jan. 4, Muriel Bowser, Democratic Washington, D.C. Mayor, vetoed this bill. By a 12-1 vote, the council overrode Bowser’s veto on January 17.

The bill must be reviewed by Congress for 60 days. Each chamber may pass a resolution to disapprove the measure. D.C. will begin to implement the new criminal code in 2025 if the bill is approved by Congress. It is estimated that the cost will be around $50 million.

To stop the crime bill from being passed, Clyde and Hagerty need bipartisan support. After the House passed the resolution, it would need to be approved by the Senate with a simple majority and signed by President Joe Biden.

In 2021, violent crime in D.C. soared. According to the Washingtonian, data from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the number of homicides rose 19% in 2020 and remained steady into 2021. Since 2019, carjackings have tripled.

Clyde stated to the Caller that the radical D.C. Council rewrite of our criminal code is a threat to the well-being both Washingtonians as visitors. It also makes Washington a safe haven for violent criminals. “In light of this dangerous and badly misguided move, Congress must now save the capital.”

He said, “Our Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to manage Washington’s affairs. That is why we must quickly pass a resolution to disapprove to stop this madness in its tracks.” I urge Republicans and Democrats from both parties to join us in our fight for Washington safety by blocking the D.C. Council soft-on crime bill.

Bowser was contacted by the House Oversight Committee Republicans in March to present a plan to address rampant violence in the capital.

The March letter, which was spearheaded by Rep. James Comer (Kentucky) and signed by all Republicans in the committee, was first received by the Caller. The lawmakers criticised Bowser, D.C. Democrats and their reduction of the budget for the MPD in the letter.

“All Americans should feel safe and secure in their capital cities, but the District of Columbia’s radical left-wing policies have created an unprecedented crime crisis. Comer said that the D.C. Council would like to make it easier for criminals. This will lead to D.C.’s current crime crisis becoming a catastrophe. Comer was referring to Clyde’s and Hagerty’s resolutions. Oversight Committee Republicans will ensure that D.C. is not on a path to destruction by Mayor Bowser and the D.C. Council. We will be the oversight committee for the District of Columbia and we will investigate the disastrous policies that allowed crime to flourish in the capital of our country. We will employ every legal remedy to stop the D.C. Council’s procriminal bill becoming law.”

Hagerty stated to the Caller that the American public is fed up with the current crime wave in the country. “Congress has the responsibility of overseeing Washington, D.C. — an area where people can live and work safely. The District should set an example for others by passing legislation that makes residents and visitors more secure. This resolution clearly states that Congress intends for D.C. conform to this standard.

Denise Krepp, a former D.C. politician and former Obama Administration political appointee who was the Capitol Hill Advisory Network Commissioner (ANC for6B10), told the Caller that she was disappointed with the D.C. Council’s response to rising crime.

Krepp decried the RCCA in a Dec. 2022 letter to the House leadership. The Caller received it:

In February 2022, Kevin McCarthy, then-House Minority Leader, told the Caller that Comer and McCarthy planned to use their power in order to hold Bowser responsible for implementing harmful policies after the GOP regained the House.

McCarthy, who was elected speaker in January weighed in on Clyde’s and Hagerty’s joint resolution in a statement made to the Caller.

Although a vote on the resolution is not scheduled yet, House GOP lawmakers are working quickly to convince leadership to move the resolution to the floor as soon as possible. The House resolution has 19 cosponsors. They are: Reps. Rick Allen and Austin Scott of Georgia, Buddy Carter and Keith Self of Texas, Brian Babin and Dan Crenshaw, August Pfluger, Keith Self and Keith Self of Texas, Andy Biggs, Debbie Lesko and Ben Cline of Virginia, Scott Franklin and Scott Franklin of Florida. Mike Garcia of California. Mark Green of Tennessee. Mike Johnson of Louisiana. Gary Palmer of Alabama. Joe Wilson of South Carolina. Ryan Zinke from Montana.

The Caller did not receive a response from Bowser’s offices regarding the resolution.