“Americans deserve to visit their nation’s capital without facing fear or violence… Yet the D.C. Council’s bill, coming at a time of heightened crime, will only worsen an already troubling problem… Congress has an obligation — constitutionally and morally — to ensure such a self-destructive measure does not become law… Combating crime is not a conservative or liberal objective; it is a common-sense one.”
D.C. should be safe for residents and visitors alike, yet in the face of rising crime rates, our nation’s capital is in jeopardy of becoming even more dangerous. Remarkably, the D.C. Council voted to reduce maximum penalties for certain criminal offenses, including home invasions, carjackings and robberies.
The radical rewrite of the criminal code has faced warranted backlash, with the mayor vetoing the legislation and explaining to the council: “This bill does not make us safer.” The D.C. Council responded by overriding her veto.
We agree with the mayor.
Because Congress shares responsibility for the District, this measure is before both chambers for review under the D.C. Home Rule Act. In good conscience, we cannot approve legislation that will exacerbate a worsening crime wave. Therefore, we introduced a joint resolution of disapproval to block the bill.
Why would a representative from Georgia and a senator from Tennessee take action on a D.C. law?
Well, when spikes in crime occur in cities across the country, it is up to state and local governments to reduce these crime rates. However, in the case of D.C., the Constitution tasks Congress with the responsibility and the authority to take action.
Article I’s enclave clause gives Congress exclusive legislative jurisdiction over our nation’s capital. Therefore, Congress has a constitutional responsibility regarding D.C.’s affairs.
Americans deserve to visit their nation’s capital without facing fear or violence. As our capital city, D.C. should serve as a beacon of freedom for all — at home and abroad. Yet the D.C. Council’s bill, coming at a time of heightened crime, will only worsen an already troubling problem.
Decreasing penalties for violent criminal offenses will undoubtedly embolden criminals and threaten the safety of both residents and visitors. Washingtonians, local businesses and constituents alike will inevitably encounter greater danger — carjackings in broad daylight, robberies on daily commutes and brutal assaults in the streets.
Given the potentially severe consequences of the D.C. Council’s bill, Congress has an obligation — constitutionally and morally — to ensure such a self-destructive measure does not become law.
In our divided government, the reality is that we must garner bipartisan support to prevent the D.C. Council’s ill-advised criminal code overhaul from taking effect. We implore our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join this effort and send our resolution of disapproval to President Biden’s desk.
Combating crime is not a conservative or liberal objective; it is a common-sense one.
Beyond the Beltway, Americans see this dangerous bill for what it is: a measure that emboldens criminals at the expense of law-abiding citizens. In the face of the D.C. Council’s persistent efforts to advance this harmful legislation, it is up to Congress to save our nation’s capital from itself.
Let’s work together to make our nation’s capital a safer place for all.