Biden vetoes house resolution rolling back D.C. "crime reforms"

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Back at the beginning of March, Joe Biden signaled he was willing to sign the Senate version of the roll-back of the absolutely insane D.C. crime “reform” bill.

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There were gasps from the usual Progressive and pro-statehood suspects, but, as even Democrats had crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans to put the kibosh on the crime bill, it sounded like Biden was acceding to reason.

And sign it, he did.

President Joe Biden on Monday signed a measure repealing changes to the D.C. criminal code, breaking with the progressive wing of his party and taking a tough-on-crime stance ahead of his expected re-election bid.

Earlier this month, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the GOP-backed measure, which would undo changes to the Washington, D.C., criminal code. The House passed the resolution in February. Ahead of the Senate vote, Biden, who has been hit by a Republican-led assault over what they say is his soft stance on crime, said he would not veto the bill if Congress passed it, surprising members of his own party.

What hadn’t been included in that March bill was the D.C. Council’s new, George-Floyd-riots-inspired “police accountability” law, and the U.S. House took aim at that next. When Chuck Schumer was asked about the Senate being about to block whatever the House did on it, he sounded confident they would hold the line.

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…Biden has made it clear this time that he will veto the new GOP resolution should it reach his desk. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that the legislation included some “reasonable reforms” and predicted that Democrats would hold the line against the GOP resolution, authored by Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus.

I expect we’ll be able to block it,” Schumer told reporters.

Washington’s Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act — a response to nationwide police brutality protests after George Floyd’s murder in 2020 — includes a number of police accountability measures.

The White House said in a statement that Biden does not support every provision in the bill but that it includes “commonsense police reforms” like “banning chokeholds; limiting use of force and deadly force; improving access to body-worn camera recordings; and requiring officer training on de-escalation and use of force.”

It turns out he was wrong and I love when that happens.

The Senate has voted to overturn a District of Columbia law enacted last year to improve police accountability, the second time this year that Democrats have joined with Republicans to try and block the district’s crime regulations.

…“Congress should respect the District of Columbia’s right to pass measures that improve public safety and public trust,” the White House said.

Still, eight Senate Democrats supported the GOP-led effort to overturn the law, as members of both parties have expressed concern about rising violent crime rates in cities nationwide. In D.C., homicides in the city had risen for four years straight before they dropped around 10% in 2022. The 2021 murder count of 227 was the highest since 2003.

“Congress must exert our constitutional authority to keep our nation’s capital safe,” said freshman Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, who sponsored the Senate effort.

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Eight Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with Republican senators to quash this “reform” as well, and, as you might have guessed, they’re all racists.

…Washington’s criminal code hasn’t been updated substantially since it was first drafted in 1901, and criminal justice experts say that Black people have been disproportionately affected by the criminal laws, similar to many other cities.

Ahead of the House vote in April, Norton called the resolution “ profoundly undemocratic” and “paternalistic.”

“I can only conclude that the Republican leadership believes that D.C. residents, a majority of whom are Black and Brown, are unworthy of governing themselves,” Norton said.

Well, there must have been a pudding shortage, because a certain POTATUS said, bipartisan or no, he wasn’t going to sign anything but a veto.

Which is what, with an utterly nausea inducing tweet as an introduction…

…Biden did today.

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There supposedly is room for Congress to work with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and others on the police issues, even in the face of the veto.

…In a March letter she authored alongside Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, the two officials told House and Senate leaders that blocking the bill — which has been in effect for three years as an emergency measure — “would be disruptive to our public safety processes.”

The debate and legislative sparring over public safety in D.C. is expected to continue in the months to come, both in Congress and in the Wilson Building. Congressional Republicans have held two public hearings on crime in D.C., and in the most recent one, they hinted at some interest in working with Bowser on certain proposals, like increasing funding for local prosecutors in the office of the U.S. Attorney for D.C., which handles violent crime. Bowser has also unveiled her own package of legislative proposals to improve public safety, and is pushing the council to vote on it before their summer recess starts in mid-July. A first public hearing has been scheduled on June 27.

While you all schedule meetings and official chitchats, how about you arrest people? When you arrest them, hang on to them for a while.

Meanwhile, the city itself is awash in blood. Daily.

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If you drive, lock your car doors.

It might take them a while to hash this out and, so far, nobody’s watching what’s going on in the streets.

I certainly can understand why some would avert their eyes.

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David Strom 8:00 AM | July 25, 2024
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