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First Amendment Phonies

Congressional Republicans Are Ready to Take Down Proposed D.C. Criminal Code

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Republicans in Congress are ready to prevent the Washington, D.C. city council from implementing a new criminal code which will decriminalize a number of serious crimes, will give a jury trial for anyone charged with a misdemeanor, and eliminates all mandatory minimum sentences except for first-degree murder.


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.

In reaction to the news of the proposed criminal code advancing through the city council, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) said he will soon "introduce a bill that would stop this insane move."

GOP members on the House Oversight Committee, which has a direct oversight role for D.C., have sent letters to Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) expressing their desire for her to get the increased crime wave in the city under control and to tell them her plan to address the problem. Members have written multiple letters, which Bowser has ignored:

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.” 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. This weak response will only ensure people visiting, living, or working in D.C. continue to be endangered.


"All Americans should feel safe in their capital city, but radical left-wing policies have created a crime crisis in the District of Columbia. Now D.C. Democrats want to go even easier on criminals. This is going to turn D.C.’s crime crisis into a catastrophe. 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," Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) told Townhall.

Bowser and D.C. Metro Police Chief Robert Contee have voiced opposition to the decriminalization provisions in the criminal code bill.

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