In a rare move, President Joe Biden has indicated that he will sign into law a Republican effort to block a radical D.C. law that would have dramatically weakened penalties for serious crimes in the nation's capital.
🚨 BREAKING: Even Biden admits crime is out of control in Democrat-run cities thanks to the Left's soft-on-crime agenda.— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) March 2, 2023
House Republicans are forcing a bill to his desk to overturn DC's weak new criminal code eliminating mandatory minimums on violent crime—and he won't veto it. https://t.co/sd6b7sh7H5
But Biden shouldn't be given any credit for ultimately stopping the radical legislation. This was clearly a move to save face for Democrats who have largely been responsible for a crime crisis sweeping the country:
Under the Constitution, Congress has far-reaching powers over the District, thanks to the seat-of-government clause. In Democratic circles, the fact that a mostly white Congress can overrule and reverse the decisions of a city council in a mostly black city is considered an antiquated, undemocratic abomination. Democrats largely tout the importance of “home rule,” and allow the District of Columbia to make its own decisions. In fact, you’ve heard Democrats, including Joe Biden, argue that D.C. should become a state. As president, Biden declared less than two years ago that, “This taxation without representation and denial of self governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded.”
Unless, of course, two years before a Democratic president runs for reelection, the D.C. city council passes a law that Republicans could use to paint Democrats as soft on crime. Then, apparently, the president is happy to jump on board with a Republican-led effort to reject softer criminal penalties. President Biden’s position, as I summed up yesterday, is that he supports D.C. statehood, home rule, and the District of Columbia making its own decisions, right up until the moment the D.C. city council makes a decision that could hurt the Democratic Party’s image as a whole.
Now, Democrats are in disarray. The far left wing of the Democrat Party is not taking kindly to Biden's decision and his apparent flip-flop on supporting D.C. autonomy:
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat, is “deeply disappointed” in Biden’s decision.
“This is simple: the District of Columbia must be allowed to govern itself. Democrats’ commitment to home rule should apply regardless of the substance of the local legislation,” she said in a statement to CNN. “This is why the Congressional Progressive Caucus and its members have endorsed D.C. statehood, with every CPC member cosponsoring D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton’s bill in the 117th Congress. Statehood is the only way to protect the 700,000 residents of the District from this kind of interference, we will continue to champion this cause.”
The president’s decision also contradicts his own administration’s earlier stance, laid out in a statement of administration policy last month, that said, “Congress should respect the District of Columbia’s autonomy to govern its own local affairs.” Biden attempted to explain the reasoning behind his change of mind, saying in a tweet from his official account, “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.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had a hard time reconciling the President's position on the crime bill and D.C. Statehood earlier today:
Karine Jean-Pierre: Biden was against overturning D.C.'s disastrous weak-on-crime law before House Republicans voted to overturn it. pic.twitter.com/djrvLvL26l— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 3, 2023
JEAN-PIERRE on Biden's decision to support GOP-led legislation to stop the new D.C. city council crime bill:— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 3, 2023
"He believes in keeping the 700,000 residents in DC safe." pic.twitter.com/sIPJIwFZmI
As Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's defeat earlier this week illustrates, even America's bluest cities are rejecting the soft-on-crime policies of Democrats. Americans will recognize that President Biden's shallow stance on the D.C. crime bill does little to quell the crime crisis that has raged under his administration.