Senate Dems join Republicans in blocking controversial D.C. crime bill

by ian

Ian Patrick, FISM News

It seems as though the controversial crime bill which passed in Washington D.C. will not be gaining the support it needs from the U.S. Congress.

The 81-14 vote in the Senate on Wednesday saw many Democrats side with Republicans on overturning a crime bill for the seat of government. This marks the fourth time in history that Congress has moved to overturn a law passed by the D.C. legislature.

Notably, the vote also saw 33 Democratic Senators siding with their Republican colleagues on the issue. The move to block this bill now goes to President Biden, who indicated he would sign it if it reached his desk.

The law changes in question aimed to lower penalties for certain crimes in D.C. It also aimed to eliminate most mandatory sentences for numerous crimes, including violent offenses like carjackings and robberies.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made note of such crimes as his reason for promoting the bill during remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday.

“Carjackings and car thefts have become a daily routine,” McConnell said while listing what “life in Washington D.C.” looked like in recent weeks. “Homicides are racking up at a rate of four per week,” he added.

“We’re the greatest superpower nation in history. This is our capital city. But local politicians have let its streets become a danger and an embarrassment,” McConnell said.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, one of the Democrats who sided with Republicans in the vote, had announced his intention to support the block on Tuesday.

“I’m going to vote yes. It was a close question, but I’m balanced on voting yes,” the New York senator said before the press.

According to reporting from Reuters, citing police data, homicides and gun crimes in the nation’s capital have almost doubled since 2017.

City Council members argued that the changes were the result of a lengthy compromise, and that the lowered penalties would better reflect actual sentences.

However, on Monday the Council tried to withdraw its changes after seeing so much support thrown behind the blocking effort.

Council chair Phil Mendelson previously voiced his discontent with the way its laws are governed by Congress, and claimed they are often used for bigger fights.

“That’s the the history of the District of Columbia, is two centuries of the district being used for national purposes, which … is very unfair and offensive,” Mendelson is quoted as saying.