Letts: The DC Council Wouldn't Protect Citizens, So Congress Did


Isn’t it funny how Democrats who don’t want criminals prosecuted and citizens protected when bad things are happening in other cities do a 180 and start sounding like Republicans when their own safety might be in jeopardy?

The most recent example of this is the U.S. Senate’s passage of a resolution to block revisions to the Washington, D.C., criminal code that would have lowered penalties for many violent criminal offenses, such as robberies and carjackings.

The result would have been less reason for criminals in the District to fear the consequences of their criminal actions.

What is interesting is that a Democratic D.C. government approved the changes, but a Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate blocked the changes.

Not only that, but 33 Democratic senators voted to block the changes. In the House of Representatives, 31 Democrats joined Republicans to block the changes 250-173.

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District officials like to champion the cause of D.C. statehood and home rule, but federal law grants Congress the right to block D.C. legislation before it can become law.

Most of the time, Congress is content to let the District govern itself, but now that the city council has shown it does not want to stop violent crime in the city, Congress has stepped in for the first time in a generation to nullify a D.C. law.

President Joe Biden said he would sign the disapproval legislation if it passed the Senate in a March 2 tweet.

“I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule — but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections — such as lowering penalties for carjackings. If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did — I’ll sign it,” Biden said.

If he supports home rule, why doesn’t he support a bill that the District of Columbia Council unanimously passed last year? Just how bad were the proposed changes if other Democratic politicians couldn’t support them?

Or was it something else?

Could it be that they are worried for their own safety in a lawless city, or are they actually paying attention to the news and realizing that voters are turning against politicians who are soft on crime?

Rep. Angie Craig, a Minnesota Democrat, was recently assaulted in the elevator of her D.C. apartment building. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost the Democratic primary in her city to a law-and-order Democrat.

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People are growing tired of soft-on-crime politicians, and some of them are getting the message, if only to stay in office.

Last year, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser asking for her plan to address violent crime in the nation’s capital, especially since she and the council had cut funding to the police.

Bowser has said she plans to take new actions to address public safety that won’t be part of the criminal code. She emphasized that there need to be consequences for criminal actions, and her constituents seem to agree with her. They want the police funded and in their neighborhoods to discourage crime.

What Congress did was necessary because the council wasn’t doing its job to protect citizens. Now maybe the council will do something to fight crime in the city.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Michael Letts is the founder and CEO of In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship and fundraising programs.