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McCarthy: Blocking D.C. sentencing reform bill is moment 'we take our streets back'

McCarthy held a signing ceremony for the bill Congress passed to overturn the Washington D.C. Council's sentencing reform bill

Published: March 10, 2023 12:23pm

Updated: March 11, 2023 10:01am

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Friday that Congress passing legislation that blocks a District of Columbia reform bill widely considered too soft of crime is a nationwide message. 

"We're sending a message to every city, to every county, to every state, that no longer will Washington be soft on crime," the California Republican said about the measure that loosening sentencing for certain crimes, particularly carjacking. "No longer will we be defunding police. No longer will we be softening sentences.

The GOP-led House led the effort to draft and pass Congress' disapproval measure for the D.C. bill. With 31 votes from Democrats, the measure gained so much Democrat support in the Senate that it effectively forced President Biden to eventually say he would not veto the measure if it arrived at his desk.

The Senate passed the measure earlier this week.

"A new Republican majority changes the course," McCarthy said at a signing ceremony for the bill Friday. "This might just be a bill that makes D.C. safer, but it is a message for the entire nation, that we want safe streets, we want safe communities, we want safe schools and we know that, in a bipartisan way, everybody wants the same," he added.

McCarthy said the D.C. chief of police has informed lawmakers that the average homicide suspect in the city has been arrested 11 times before committing the murder. 

"This is what happens when politicians decide we need fewer arrests, or shorter sentences and defunding of the police," McCarthy said at the ceremony. "Really what this bill deals with is every city in this nation. This is the moment in time we take our streets back. This is the moment in this country that we say no more."

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