Hagerty: The Senate will not stand by while our nation’s capital becomes a safe haven for violent criminals

March 8, 2023

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) today led a press conference at the U.S. Capitol after his resolution of disapproval to block the D.C. Council’s irresponsible soft-on-crime Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022 (RCCA) from taking effect was passed in the U.S. Senate by an overwhelming bipartisan majority.

*Click to photo above or here to watch*

Partial Transcript

Hagerty: “Thanks to all of you for joining us here tonight to discuss such a critical issue, not only for the District of Columbia, but for our nation. 

“The most basic job of government is to protect its citizens. And tonight, the United States Senate fulfilled that mandate. We fulfilled our obligation—both constitutionally and morally. We ensured that the D.C. City Council’s self-destructive, soft-on-crime measure does not become law, and we sent a resounding message that we’ll not simply stand by while our nation’s capital becomes a safe haven for violent criminals, and while the D.C. City Council attempts to make this capital into a national embarrassment.

“Today’s vote is an important acknowledgement that we indeed have a violent crime problem. I appreciate the fact that so many of my colleagues have joined and voted with me today to send a resounding message that we do have a crime problem. Blocking this D.C. crime bill keeps things from getting even worse, but a lot more work remains for us to do if we’re going to actually reverse the violent crime trend here in America.

“Not only do jurisdictions across the country need to eliminate soft-on-crime laws and policies that lead to this catch-and-release of violent criminals, we need to recognize the vital, positive role that law enforcement officers play in our communities keeping us safe. The lawlessness and sense of unease that we’re witnessing in our nation’s capital and in cities across the country indicates that we need more—not less—law enforcement, and we need to make certain that tough-on-crime policies are put in place that will thwart bad actors and will allow law enforcement officers to do their job. 

“This resolution of disapproval has raised the debate on D.C. Statehood, as well. I’m grateful that President Biden and so many of my Senate colleagues on the other side of the aisle have now recognized that under the Constitution, Congress plays an important and unique role in the governance of the District of Columbia. And thankfully, the Constitution provides this role. 

“Today’s vote demonstrates overwhelming agreement that the D.C. crime bill is a bad idea. It seems to me that D.C. is trying to compete with other liberal-led cities to see just how woke they can be. So, just imagine if Congress didn’t have this authority and the D.C. Council was left to its own devices, and this dangerous bill would’ve become law. And while the D.C. Council pats itself on the back for its wokeness, the citizens and visitors to D.C. would suffer even more. 

“This would’ve been a disastrous issue. It would’ve had disastrous repercussions for both the safety of D.C. residents, as well as so many of our constituents from across the nation, including Tennesseans that come to visit the nation’s capital every day. 

“This week, even the D.C. Council seemed to realize that it shouldn’t be left to its own devices when it tried to un-send its own bill. I’m just glad Congress has the constitutional authority to step up and govern in a serious manner. 

“So, I want to thank all of my colleagues for their support tonight, and I want to thank President Biden for indicating that he’ll sign this commonsense legislation. And I’ll also say this: I’m looking forward to being invited to the signing ceremony when it happens. Thank you.”