Republican looks to block DC bill to that gives carjackers weaker sentences

Republican declares war on D.C. crime with bill to BLOCK law that gives suspects weaker sentences for carjacking and gun possession in city ravaged by violence

  • Rep. Andrew Clyde is introducing a bill to crack down on DC’s new criminal code
  • Comes as GOP tries to take more control over the rule of Washington, D.C. 
  • City Council overruled Mayor Bowser’s veto to decrease penalties for carjacking

House Republicans are looking to crack down on crime in Washington, D.C. by intervening in the District’s attempt to decrease penalties for violent crimes like carjacking and gun possession.

Representative Andrew Clyde is leading the charge and will introduce legislation to block the D.C. Council’s recent criminal code reform, which was unsuccessfully vetoed by Mayor Muriel Bowser but overruled unanimously by the council.

Capitol Hill is physically in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Congress holds authority to have final say over local affairs and legislation before it can become law.

Clyde, part of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, told Axios the bill to block new reforms in coming weeks will look to ‘stop this insanity in its tracks.’ 

Representative Andrew Clyde (pictured speaking with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy) is introducing legislation to crack down on new criminal code passed by D.C. Council this month

Representative Andrew Clyde (pictured speaking with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy) is introducing legislation to crack down on new criminal code passed by D.C. Council this month

Despite a massive rise in crime, D.C. Council voted unanimously to decrease penalties and maximum sentences for carjackings and gun possession

Despite a massive rise in crime, D.C. Council voted unanimously to decrease penalties and maximum sentences for carjackings and gun possession

The Georgia congressman wants to strip D.C. of its autonomy completely and have Congress rule over the jurisdiction, and is starting with tackling the city’s handling of crime.

Democrats, however, say this is an overstep.

‘These Republican staffers don’t know the difference between the Home Rule Act and the Magna Carta,’ local Democratic consultant Chuck Thies said.

The move from GOP lawmakers is a hard right turn from the Democratic-led House efforts in the last Congress, which was on Mayor Bowser’s side when it came to establishing statehood for Washington, D.C.

Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee plans to introduce an identical version of Clyde’s bill in the Senate, which still has a Democrat majority and is unlikely to pass and get to President Joe Biden’s desk.

Still, Republicans are hoping to drum up hearings and media headlines with the latest proposal even if they are unsuccessful legislatively.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser attempted to veto the bill but was unsuccessful against the unanimous city council efforts

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser attempted to veto the bill but was unsuccessful against the unanimous city council efforts

D.C. City Council voted unanimously this month to reform its criminal code and lessen penalties for violent crimes including dropping the maximum sentences for carjacking and gun possession.

Under this new code the maximum sentence for carjackings would drop from the current 40 years to 24 years behind bars.

‘I don’t support a litany of pieces of legislation that came out of the council related to public safety,’ Mayor Bowser told Axios on Tuesday.

Notably, staffing at D.C. Metro Police Department (MPD) has hit a new low dating back to at least 1999. The number of sworn staff is at 3376 to start of Fiscal Year 2023 – as anti-law enforcement sentiments have spread throughout the district and nation.

It also comes after the D.C. City Council voted to slash $15 million for police in its latest budget, which led to a hiring freeze. 

Additionally, crime has increased exponentially in the district in recent years with back-to-back years of more than 200 murders and five years of increasing carjackings.

Congress has already started coming after D.C.’s ability to rule itself this year.

Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer introduced legislation to block the District from allowing non-citizen residents to vote in local elections – and Senator Tom Cotton is expected to bring a senate version of the legislation soon.

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