Congressional Republicans poised to stop ‘insane’ new D.C. soft-on-crime criminal code

Published with permission from American Wire News Service. 

Congressional Republicans are gearing up to stop the Washington, D.C. city council from implementing a new criminal code that Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) calls “insane.”

This D.C. bill, 16 years in the making, “would eliminate most mandatory minimum sentences, allow for jury trials in almost all misdemeanor cases and reduce the maximum penalties for offenses such as burglaries, carjackings, and robberies,” according to The Washington Post.

Congress has the power to intervene in D.C. affairs, as Townhall explains: “Congress has the ability to intervene in D.C. government affairs under the District Clause of the Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, meaning Congress reviews all DC legislation before it can become law, including the ability to modify or and overturn legislation.”

And that’s exactly what Cotton intends on doing.

“DC crime rates are sky-rocketing. We should be putting criminals in jail for longer, not getting rid of mandatory minimums,” he tweeted. “I’ll soon introduce a bill that would stop this insane move and put every Democrat in the senate on record about reducing sentences for convicted criminals.”

The House Oversight Committee has a direct oversight role for D.C., and Republican members have for months been urging D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) to get the city’s crime under control.

In a June letter to Bowser signed by Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the lawmakers wrote:

Democrat-run cities across the country are struggling under the progressive Democrat Defund the Police influence and soft-on-crime policies. Unfortunately, this trend is affecting the District of Columbia (D.C.). Under your leadership, D.C. continues to face violence and destruction. While crime in 2022 surpasses even an abysmal 2021, Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and House Committee on the Judiciary seek information about the increasingly dangerous state of D.C. and the D.C. government’s failure to quell criminal activity. For over a year, Republicans have raised concerns about D.C.’s soaring crime and deteriorating conditions. The D.C. government, however, has ignored all requests for information. It is past time you take action to restore order to the nation’s capital.

 

“Democrat elected officials’ continuing efforts to push failed policies that keep criminals on the streets shows a total disregard for their constituents’ safety. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has advocated ‘restorative justice to become ‘the default way of dealing with juveniles’—even for some of the most serious crimes, like murder,’” the letter states. “Despite serious concerns raised by the D.C. Police Union, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen have pushed anti-police legislation drawn from Defund the Police talking points. While finally providing additional funding for police in your 2022 budget, the D.C. Council has allegedly cut millions of dollars of funding for additional police officers in D.C.”

“Meanwhile your office promotes committing millions of dollars to soft and ineffective policies like using ‘violence interrupters’ to mediate hypothetical crimes,” the lawmakers continue. “This weak response will only ensure people visiting, living, or working in D.C. continue to be endangered.”

It’s one of many that Bowser — who along with D.C. Metro Police Chief Robert Contee, has come out against the decriminalization provisions in the bill — has ignored.

According to Comer, it’s nothing short of a “crime crisis.”

“All Americans should feel safe in their capital city, but radical left-wing policies have created a crime crisis in the District of Columbia,” he told Townhall. “Now D.C. Democrats want to go even easier on criminals.”

“This is going to turn D.C.’s crime crisis into a catastrophe,” he stated. “The D.C. Council and Mayor Bowser’s actions place D.C. on a path of destruction and will be met with strong oversight from Oversight Committee Republicans. We will use every remedy available to the House to prevent this pro-criminal bill from becoming law.”

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