Biden DC criminal code position a ‘great disappointment,’ delegate says

House of Representatives Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said President Biden’s decision to overturn Washington D.C.,’s revised criminal code was a “great disappointment” but observed that Democrats were divided on the issue as crime rates have increased across the nation. In an exclusive interview, Norton told Fox News that she had hoped Biden would support the Washington, D.C., Council-backed criminal justice reform proposals, noting that the president supports Washington, D.C., statehood.  “I had hoped that perhaps this disapproval resolution on the criminal code would be in line with his usual support for what the district does,” Norton said. She called the president’s announcement “an anomaly,” and said that rising crime made it difficult for Democrats to support criminal justice reform.  When asked if she was mad at the president, the congresswoman said she was not and noted that there was bipartisan opposition to the Washington, D.C., criminal code, which critics have called soft on crime. BIDEN WON’T VETO BILL BOCKING THE SOFTENING OF DC’S CRIMINAL CODE “Let me put it this way, there was division,” Norton said. “But when [Biden] saw that there were Democrats lining up with Republicans on the disapproval resolution, despite his support for statehood, the president decided he would not veto the measure.”  “I think this is all because it’s a criminal code and crime is going up all across the country,” she suggested. “So even the Democrats who do not support — who usually support home rule did not support us here, are reacting to the rise in crime across the United States.”  Biden infuriated some Democrats on Thursday when he announced he would not veto a bipartisan resolution that would overturn sweeping criminal justice reform legislation passed by the Washington, D.C., Council in November. ‘SAD DAY’: AOC, DISAPPOINTED DEMOCRATS GO AFTER BIDEN FOR OPPOSING DC LAW REDUCING PENALTIES ON VIOLENT CRIME Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser had vetoed the bill, citing concerns that it would soften criminal penalties on certain violent crimes. However, the council overrode her veto in January, giving Congress 60 days to pass a resolution that would block the reforms from becoming law.  House Republicans passed such a resolution to disapprove of the council’s action, accusing Democrats of going soft on crime as homicide rates are up 37% in Washington, D.C., and car thefts are up 111%, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. However, many Democrats argued that Congress should respect the will of Washington, D.C., elected representatives.  Biden tried to have it both ways, initially condemning Republicans for introducing the resolution of disapproval, and ultimately announcing he would not veto it. “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,” Biden wrote in a Tweet Wednesday. “If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did – I’ll sign it.” DC MAYOR BLAMES ‘SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE’ FOR CARJACKINGS, OFFERS FREE STEERING WHEEL LOCKS FOR SOME VEHICLES The Senate has not considered the resolution yet, but Norton predicted that Biden’s announcement would “drive down support in the Senate.”  “I think the president’s veto announcement was, if anything, the death knell in the Senate,” she said. Norton said Biden has not reached out to her and that she has not spoken with him about the criminal code.  “I don’t think he wants to talk to me about it,” she said, laughing. “I’m the last person he wants to talk to about it.”
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