Dems Help GOP Pass New Crime Bill

( – Washington, DC, has experienced several high-profile crimes. A carjacker killed a former official of Donald Trump and Barack Obama’s administrations, a congressman was carjacked, and another member of Congress was attacked in an elevator. Congress has now taken action to overhaul the capital city’s crime policies.

On May 15, the House of Representatives passed HR 7530, the DC CRIMES Act, which would limit the DC Council’s authority to change its sentencing laws. Under the Constitution’s District Clause, Congress has the authority over the city’s local affairs. Lawmakers review all of DC’s legislation, modify it, and overturn it if they choose to do so.

In the case of the crime bill, lawmakers moved to stop the city government from changing the Youth Rehabilitation Act, which allows judges to sentence individuals aged 18 to 24 to age-appropriate sentences. Judges can also seal their records after they complete their sentences to help them reintegrate into society.

Eighteen Democrats voted with Republicans to pass HR 7530 by a vote of 225 to 181. The legislation would toughen up sentences for youth offenders and remove some of the authority judges currently hold. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) said the bill would require the city to “treat adult criminals as adults, like the rest of the country does.”

The legislation comes just months after Mike Gill died when a DC carjacker shot him outside of his wife’s work on K Street, just blocks from the White House, in February. Gill worked for Obama and Trump in the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The carjacker also murdered a young father in a separate shooting. Last year, Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) was attacked in an elevator in her apartment building on H Street. In October, an armed carjacker targeted Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX).

The DC CRIMES Act will now head to the Senate, where it faces a filibuster. That means it will need 60 votes to pass. President Joe Biden’s administration has indicated it doesn’t support the bill.

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