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The Senate, which is currently controlled by the Democrats, passed a Republican amendment that will overrule the DC city council’s rewrite of the criminal code for the nation’s capital.
The bill is now on its way to President Biden’s desk, who surprised congressional Democrats when he announced last week that he would not offer any resistance to the measure
The vote has highlighted different visions within the Democrat party on how to address nationwide concerns regarding the increase in crime. The Democrat party has historically had less trust from the American people than The Republican party on this issue.
The measure passed the senate with an 81-14 vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was one of the Democrats who voted along with Republicans to pass it. The bill needed a straightforward majority vote to pass. In February, 31 House Democrats voted to pass the bill and send it to the Senate.
“What we’ve got is a D.C. city council that seems to be completely bent on achieving some sort of woke messaging on criminal justice reform, as opposed to worrying about the safety and security of people who come to visit and those who reside in this city,” Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., the lead sponsor of the resolution, told NPR.
One central issue was the plan to change DC’s punishment for crimes such as armed carjacking. The legislation proposed that the maximum penalty be reduced from 40 years to 24 years. Sponsors of the legislation said this is consistent with recent sentencing.
The legislation also requested a reduction in jury trials for minor crimes.
There was also an objection to a provision to expand the right to jury trials for certain criminal misdemeanor offenses, which critics say would overload a taxed D.C. court system and result in prosecutors dropping more cases.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: THE NEW YORK TIMES