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House Votes to Overturn D.C. Policing Bill, Biden Will Veto It

House Republicans passed a resolution Wednesday that would overturn a District of Columbia policing bill, again flexing congressional authority to disapprove of a local measure from the District. D.C. officials and House Democrats contend the law increases public safety, as it strengthens training requirements, prohibits hiring police who have a history of misconduct, and aims to bolster police accountability and transparency, Roll Call reports. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer and other Republicans say the local measure restricts officers from doing their job and makes officer retention difficult at a time when carjacking rates are increasing. “The council has continued to overlook its law enforcement officers in favor of progressive soft-on-crime policies that only benefit criminals,” Comer said. He added that lawmakers “must ensure that these pro-crime policies are not allowed in our nation's capital.” The disapproval resolution reflects a broader partisan debate in Congress over violent crime and law enforcement accountability and retention. Democrats tied it to a clash on D.C. home rule and statehood.


The resolution passed the House on a 229-189 vote, with some Democrats voting with Republicans. The vote comes just weeks after the Senate signed off on a GOP-backed measure to block the District’s new criminal code. President Biden, despite vocal criticism from some Democrats, signed that GOP disapproval resolution. This time, the White House said Biden would veto the resolution over the police measure. Biden said he would not support the push to overturn “common sense” changes such as banning chokeholds, limiting the use of deadly force, improving access to body-worn camera footage, and requiring officer training on de-escalation and use of force. “Congress should respect the District of Columbia’s right to pass measures that improve public safety and public trust,” said a White House statement. “The President also continues to call on Congress to pass common sense police reform legislation.” Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s nonvoting representative in the House, slammed D.C. disapproval resolutions as “profoundly undemocratic, paternalistic legislation,” telling House members to “keep your hands off of D.C.”


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