D.C. City Council seeks to withdraw criminal code changes ahead of Senate vote

Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser vetoed the criminal code changes but the Council overrode her on the matter.

Published: March 6, 2023 4:41pm

Updated: March 6, 2023 5:13pm

The City Council of Washington, D.C., has attempted to abandon proposed changes to the city's criminal code ahead of a Senate vote likely to block the measure.

The city sought to reduce maximum criminal penalties for various offenses while eliminating most mandatory sentences entirely. On Monday, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson informed the Senate that he wanted to withdraw the proposed criminal code changes prior to the vote, which Senate Republicans were unwilling to accommodate.

"This desperate, made-up maneuver not only has no basis in the D.C. Home Rule Act, but underscores the completely unserious way the D.C. Council has legislated," Tennessee GOP Sen. Bill Hagerty said, per The Hill. He went on to emphasize the reckless nature of the legislation and insisted the vote would go forward regardless of the City Council's attempt to withdraw the changes.

"No matter how hard they try, the Council cannot avoid accountability for passing this disastrous, dangerous D.C. soft-on-crime bill that will make residents and visitors less safe," he continued.

Congress retains the authority to intervene in the District's domestic affairs and the slew of criminal reforms that many have deemed soft on crime has prompted Republicans to exercise that right. Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser vetoed the criminal code changes but the Council overrode her on the matter.

President Joe Biden has indicated he will not veto a Republican-led effort to nix the reforms, likely ensuring their ultimate failure as some Senate Democrats are likely to support the plan. The House of Representatives voted to block the criminal reforms in late February.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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