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Tipsheet

Members of Congress Hold Ceremony on Nullification of D.C.’s Soft-on-Crime Bill

Townhall Media/Madeline Leesman

On Friday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other members of Congress hosted a ceremony for the enrollment of H.J. Res. 26, which blocked the enactment of a "soft-on-crime" measure in the District of Columbia. 

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As Townhall reported, the Senate approved a resolution on Wednesday to strike down the "Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022" despite the fact that the D.C. city council attempted to withdraw the bill while it was already under review. Congressional Republicans said the city lawmakers did not have the authority to pull it. In a bipartisan 81-14 vote, the Senate passed the resolution that would not allow the measure to take effect. 

To the dismay of some members of his party, President Joe Biden said last week that he would allow Congress to overturn the legislation. The bill now heads to his desk. 

"We're here today because the issue [crime] is bigger than politics," Speaker McCarthy said in remarks at the Capitol on Friday. "We've watched what happened across this nation when people want to defund the police. We've watched what happened to our neighborhoods when you decriminalize activities." 

McCarthy noted that an opposition group held a rally near D.C.'s Union Station over the bill, and during the middle of the day, there was a carjacking where it was taking place. 

"Every American deserves to be safe in their streets. Every kid deserves to feel safe in their schools," he said. 

"The average homicide suspect in the District of Columbia has been arrested 11 times before committing the murder," McCarthy continued. "This is what happens when politicians decide we need fewer arrests or shorter sentences and defunding of the police." 

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The revised criminal code rewrite would have drastically reduced penalties for several violent crimes, such as assault, as Julio noted. But, 14 Senate Democrats, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), voted to let the bill stand. Julio also noted how the majority of House Democrats voted in support of the bill. 

"Really, what this bill deals with is every city in this nation," McCarthy said. 

Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (LA) pointed out that the people of Chicago recently voted out their soft-on-crime mayor, Lori Lightfoot (D).

"Congress has a constitutional duty to be able to govern D.C. to pass legislation to solve problems, and here was a real serious problem that needed to be solved," Scalise said, adding that the bill will save lives. "This is happening all across the country. People are fed up with crime that's out of control, and they're going to do something about it." 

As Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) pointed out, several crimes in Washington, D.C., have seen an uptick, including homicides, carjackings, and sexual abuse. The bill would have reduced sentences as well as grant misdemeanor cases a jury trial, overloading D.C.'s court system. 

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Last month, Democratic Rep. Angie Craig (MN) was attacked in the elevator of her D.C. apartment building. Once police identified the suspect, Craig revealed in an interview that she was "assault No. 13 on his record." 

"I got attacked by someone who the District of Columbia has not prosecuted fully over the course of almost a decade, over the course of 12 assaults before mine that morning," Craig said in an interview shortly after the attack. "These people are getting back out and they're just re-committing the same crimes over and over and over again." Craig voted with Republicans on blocking the bill.

"We want everyone to feel secure to walk home. We want everyone to feel safe in their streets and neighborhoods," McCarthy concluded. "This is just the beginning."

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