The Republican-controlled U.S. House flexed its power over Washington, D.C., on Thursday in voting to block a pair of local bills, with support from dozens of Democrats. The House voted in favor of resolutions disapproving of the two D.C. bills: one that would allow noncitizens to vote in local D.C. elections, and another marking a major revision of the city’s criminal code, which has not been comprehensively updated since 1901, the Washington Post reports. While the House Democratic whip urged Democrats to vote against both resolutions, 42 Democrats joined Republicans to reject the legislation allowing noncitizen voting and 31 joined Republicans to reject D.C.’s Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022. The bills now head to the Senate, where Democrats have just a narrow majority.
“We have two acts from the Washington, D.C., council that will dilute the vote of American citizens and endanger city residents and businesses,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said of the D.C. bills, arguing that it was Congress’s “responsibility” to intervene. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), the District’s nonvoting representative, said there is “never justification for Congress nullifying legislation enacted by the District," adding, "I can only conclude that the Republican leadership believes D.C. residents, the majority of whom are Black and Brown, are unworthy or uncapable of governing themselves." One Democrat who joined Republicans had been a victim of a crime in D.C. on Thursday morning. Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) was assaulted in an elevator in her D.C apartment building, leading her to throw hot coffee on her assailant to defend herself, before heading to the Capitol. Her office said she had decided to vote in favor of the disapproval resolutions before the incident. “Unfortunately, when a congresswoman gets mugged ... this morning, it’s hard to vote against demands to be tough on crime,” said D.C. Council chairman Phil Mendelson.