Some House Democrats are boiling over President Joe Biden’s announcement that he will not veto a bill that would block changes to Washington DC’s penal code — just days after his administration denounced the proposal as a violation of the “home rules’.
Biden announced the change Thursday after meeting with Senate Democrats where he was asked about it. He cited a policy dispute between DC’s Mayor Muriel Bowser and the City Council.
But that hasn’t satisfied some members of his own party, who are accustomed to Republicans trying to overthrow local policy decisions, but who have counted on Democratic commitments to advance D.C.’s statehood and protect local decision-making authority.
“The White House f***** this up royally,” a House Democrat said Hill newspaper. The lawmaker told party leaders that Biden was willing to veto the censure resolution — which likely would have stopped the move.
Some House Democratic lawmakers were outraged after President Joe Biden announced he will sign a GOP-backed bill that would override a revised D.C. penal code. Democratic lawmakers say the move violates house rules principles — noting that the White House opposed the bill when it was debated in the House
Early last month, the White House Office of Management and Budget had issued a policy statement opposing the move as a “denial of self-government.”
But with Democrats on the defensive on crime issues, amid poor polling and the defeat of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a primary where crime was an issue, Biden chose not to be associated with a measure that would suspend some criminal penalties. weaken.
“So many of us who are allies voted against supporting what the White House wanted. And now we are being hung to dry,” the legislator continued, “the legislator vented via text message. ‘F****** AMATEUR HOURS. HEADS SHOULD ROLL OVER THIS WHITE HOUSE.”
Also bashing the turnaround was progressive ‘squad’ member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
‘This isn’t it. DC has the right to govern itself just like any other state or municipality. If the president supports a state in DC, that’s how he should govern,” she wrote in a rebuke.
Many places pass laws that the president may not agree with. He should respect the people’s government of Washington as he does elsewhere,” she said added.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser vetoed the changes to the Penal Code, but this was overruled by the City Council
‘This isn’t it. DC has the right to govern itself just like any other state or municipality. If the president supports the state of D.C., that’s how he should govern,” wrote Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in a reprimand
Biden’s decision to break with his party and the city on its own comes amid growing crime concerns
Biden tweeted about the move on Thursday
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton also nullified the move
The OMB’s policy statement tore up the resolution, saying: ‘This taxation without representation and denial of self-government is an affront to the democratic values upon which our nation is founded’
Many lawmakers suddenly learned about the turnaround. A Senate bill to help move the move forward could come next week.
“I support DC Statehood and self-government — but I don’t support some of the changes the DC Council has put forward despite the mayor’s objections — such as lowering carjacking penalties,” Biden tweeted after Senate Democrats confirmed that Biden would support them said he was at a party. withdrawal it would sign if the chamber passed it.
“If the Senate votes to reverse what the DC Council did, I will sign it,” Biden wrote.
Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) called the turnaround “disappointing.”
“It’s disappointing for me and for anyone who believes in self-government, frankly. I’m a former mayor of a city of 70,000 and I wouldn’t want the federal government telling me what city ordinances to pass. … So in that context I find it disappointing.’
It’s smart politics. He ran into a circular saw,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., told reporters Thursday. “You don’t want the DC mayor’s left.”
Said DC’s Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, who learned about the change after it broke down at a press conference, “This is news to me and I’m very disappointed if he doesn’t veto it.”
The told the Washington Post: ‘I hope he keeps saying he will oppose it.’
Biden also irked fans of the state when it was reported that his presidential limousine, known as “the Beast,” does not carry the city’s “Taxation without Representation” logo.
The OMB’s Policy Statement stated, “For far too long, the more than 700,000 residents of Washington, D.C. have not had full representation in the United States Congress. This taxation without representation and denial of self-government is an affront to the democratic values upon which our nation is founded.”
“As we work to make Washington, D.C. the 51st state of our Union, Congress must respect the autonomy of the District of Columbia to manage its own local affairs,” the OMB said.
There had been a clash within DC’s Democratic-dominated government.
The city council approved changes last year that remove some mandatory minimum sentences and lower the maximum sentences for theft and burglary.
Bowser vetoed the plan, but the council overruled her veto.
A total of 31 Democrats joined Republicans in backing the measure to get ahead of the new, under laws that allow Congress to intervene in the federal district, which is established by the Constitution.