After President Biden informed Democratic lawmakers on Thursday that he would sign a Republican resolution seeking to overturn a Washington, D.C. law that would have eased penalties on violent crimes such as carjacking, one extremely ticked-off House Democrat called it “f***ing amateur hour.”
(Video Credit: WUSA9)
The D.C. district council passed the law after it was vetoed by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Following that move, the House of Representatives passed a resolution to overturn the law. It then headed for the Senate. In February, 173 Democrats voted against the proposal, citing respect for D.C.’s “home rule.” It was far from unanimous though with 31 Democrats joining Republicans in voting to overturn it.
At a Senate lunch on Thursday, Biden reportedly told his party behind closed doors that he will sign the resolution if it lands on his desk. Anger erupted among Democrats over the announcement as word spread that the president would side with Republicans and overturn the measure.
“The White House f***ed this up royally,” an anonymous House Democrat reportedly told The Hill in a text message.
The unnamed Democrat stated that Biden had previously said he supports D.C.’s right to self-governance and that he would oppose this type of resolution.
White House having a tough time justifying Biden’s decision to sign legislation rejecting DC’s insane new pro-criminal laws, which is the correct move.
Washington D.C. belongs to all Americans. It is the Nation’s Capitol. It should be safe. That’s all.
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) March 2, 2023
“So a lot of us who are allies voted no in order to support what the White House wanted. And now we are being hung out to dry,” the lawmaker asserted. “F***ING AMATEUR HOUR. HEADS SHOULD ROLL OVER AT THE WHITE HOUSE OVER THIS.”
The Democrat went on to state that others are “EXTREMELY pissed” concerning Biden’s comments.
Biden doubled down in a tweet on Thursday, reiterating what he had told Democrats.
“I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule – but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections – such as lowering penalties for carjackings,” Biden said. “If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did – I’ll sign it.”
I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule – but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections – such as lowering penalties for carjackings.
If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did – I’ll sign it.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 2, 2023
“One thing that the president believes in is making sure that the streets in America and communities across the country are safe, that includes in D.C. That does not change,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday during a White House press briefing.
“When it comes to what this proposal brings forth, which is really lowering penalties for car-jacking, he doesn’t believe that’s going to keep our communities safe,” she stated.
(Video Credit: Yahoo News)
In a recent floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defended nixing the D.C. law.
“When the soft-on-crime local government has become this incompetent; when members of Congress can’t go about their daily lives without being attacked; when families cannot come to visit their own capital in safety; then it is high time the federal government provides some adult supervision,” the Kentucky Republican proclaimed.
Our nation’s capital doesn’t belong to a few soft-on-crime local politicians, it belongs to the American people. Murders and carjackings in Washington D.C. are soaring and the liberals’ response was to reduce sentences even more.
Time for Congress to follow the law and step up.
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) February 28, 2023
Democrats see the stance as a betrayal and feel they have been blindsided. They contend that instead of abiding by D.C.’s self-governance, Biden is overturning laws passed by the district.
Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), who is the No. 3 ranking House Democrat, criticized the White House during a Punchbowl News event at the caucus’ retreat in Baltimore, calling Biden’s move “disappointing.”
“It’s disappointing for me and anybody who believes in home rule, honestly. I’m a former mayor of a city of 70,000 and I wouldn’t want the federal government coming in and telling me what city ordinances to pass. … So I think it’s disappointing in that context,” he commented.
“I voted against it, but I understand and respect the president’s position here,” Aguilar, the former mayor of Redlands, California, added. “We’ll see, the Senate has to pass that, and I know that they’ve said they have the votes but all of those things have to happen. But it’s disappointing for those of us who believe in home rule.”
“Today has been a sad day for DC home rule and DC residents’ right to self-governance,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) declared in a statement. “We had hoped that with more Senate support, we would have been able to ensure that neither disapproval resolution pending before the Senate would reach the president’s desk, but with the nationwide increase in crime, most senators do not want to be seen as supporting criminal justice reform.”
Since the District of Columbia is not an actual state, it does not have voting members in the House and Senate.
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