(VitalNews.org) – President Biden ended speculation about whether he would try to overrule Congress during a closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats on March 2.
At issue was what’s known as “home rule” in Washington, D.C. Under the U.S. Constitution, the District of Columbia is overseen by Congress, not by its local leadership. Congress has voluntarily allowed the District its city council and mayor, but Congress retains the right to withdraw this.
After the meeting, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the media that Biden would sign a Congressional resolution to block D.C.’s plans to soften its criminal code. Observers had wondered whether Biden would take the District’s side or stand with Congress.
The D.C. city council proposal would have required jury trials for misdemeanor cases (not just felony cases) and would have lightened the penalties for burglary, carjackings, and robbery. In February, the House voted to reject these reforms in the city well known for a high crime rate.
Republican Andrew Clyde, a Congressional Representative from Georgia, introduced the resolution that would overturn D.C.’s proposal. It passed the House 250-173 with support from both sides of the aisle. Senator Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., brought out a Senate version which will likely pass in early March.
Clyde said the D.C. government’s proposal was dangerous and would “embolden violent criminals” and increase the danger to city residents in the capital city, whose crime rate is rising. Violent crime has grown quickly in American cities, especially those under Democratic leadership. This rise accelerated during the pandemic period.
It has been over 30 years since Congress overruled a local D.C. law. In 1990, the legislature rejected a plan to allow the construction of buildings higher than 130 feet. That height limit applies to all of DC except a narrow corridor of Pennsylvania Avenue and the White House.
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