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House GOP passes DC crime bill with the help of 18 Democrats

A new D.C. crime legislation prevents the D.C. City Council from pursuing soft-on-crime sentences for younger people, and prohibits city officials from changing sentencing laws.

Published: May 15, 2024 9:45pm

Updated: May 15, 2024 9:45pm

The United States House of Representatives passed a series of three police bills on Wednesday, including a crime bill that would give Congress more power over sentencing in Washington, D.C., which passed with the help of 18 Democrats.

The legislation comes as Washington D.C. witnesses high crime rates, including carjackings in downtown D.C. Last year, the nation's capital recorded its highest number of homicides since 1997, according to USA Today. The high crime rates led to recall efforts for two of the city's council-members.

The new legislation prevents the D.C. City Council from pursuing soft-on-crime sentences for younger people, and prohibits city officials from changing sentencing laws. The bill was passed in a 225-181 vote, according to Politico.

House Oversight Chairman James Comer praised the passage of the D.C. crime bill, which was sponsored by Oversight Committee member Rep. Byron Donalds, a Florida Republican.

“The House Oversight Committee’s continued work in conducting oversight of the District of Columbia has resulted in today’s passage of a common-sense and urgently needed bill," Comer said in a statement. "The D.C. CRIMES Act will help rein in crime and lawlessness in Washington to restore law and order in our nation’s capital city. All Americans deserve to feel safe in their nation’s capital and thanks to the tireless work of this committee, today’s passage of Rep. Byron Donalds’ bill is a step in the right direction.”

The bill is not expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, nor be signed by President Joe Biden, who has opposed the bill. However, Biden did not promise to veto it if passed.

"The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 7530, the D.C. Criminal Reforms to Immediately Make Everyone Safe (D.C. CRIMES) Act of 2024, which would prevent the District of Columbia (D.C.) from increasing criminal penalties," the White House said in a statement. "The D.C. CRIMES Act of 2024 is a counterproductive and destructive invasion of the District’s right to self-governance and would impede public safety and crime reduction. This bill highlights why the District of Columbia should have statehood."

The bills were passed during National Police Week, which honors the work of law enforcement officers. 

Misty Severi is an evening news reporter for Just the News. You can follow her on X for more coverage.

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