Biden tells Senate Democrats he won't veto GOP-led resolution blocking D.C. crime law

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden told Senate Democrats on Thursday he will not veto a GOP resolution to block changes the D.C. Council made to the city's criminal code reducing maximum penalties for some violent crimes.

Why it matters: Biden's remarks clear the way for the resolution, which is expected to pass the Senate with bipartisan support, to take effect — marking the first time Congress overturns a D.C. law in over three decades.

State of play: The Senate could advance the measure overturning the criminal code reform as soon as next week.

  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told Axios on Wednesday he plans to vote for the resolution, and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said he "likely" will as well, putting it on track to pass.
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) told reporters he will vote for it as well: "I don’t support what the District did." Sen. Martin Heinrich also told Bloomberg he will support it and predicted most Democrats would.

The big picture: Congress has final authority over the capital city. Since reclaiming control of the House, Republicans are ushering in a new era of intervention into D.C., where local Democrats have long sought greater autonomy.

  • The refusal of Biden, a statehood supporter, to break out the veto pen marks a low point in District self-governance.
  • It's also a departure from just last month, when his administration released statements of opposition to overturning the criminal code reform and another resolution that would block non-citizens from voting in local elections in D.C.

Between the lines: Republicans and moderate Democrats, including Manchin and Mayor Muriel Bowser, have criticized the criminal code reform for reducing some maximum penalties for violent crimes.

  • Supporters, meanwhile, point out that the bulk of the legislation modernizes and updates an archaic criminal code.
  • Bowser initially did not lobby against Congress intervening, before sending a letter last week urging the Senate to not meddle in D.C.

Source: Read Full Article