White House: Biden would veto effort to block DC policing bill
President Biden will veto a GOP-led effort to block a local police accountability law in Washington, D.C., if it reaches his desk, the White House confirmed Thursday.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden plans to block the measure, known as a resolution of disapproval, if it passes Congress. The measure targets the Comprehensive Justice and Policing Reform Act, which is set to go into effect in May.
“The president believes that building community trust is integral to fighting crime. That’s something that you’ve heard him say,” Jean-Pierre said. “The president believes we should fund the police and give law enforcement the resources they need for effective, accountable, community policing, and at the same time should not weaken penalties for gun crimes.”
“While he does not support every provision in the D.C. policing bill, he will not support congressional Republicans’ efforts to overturn common sense police reforms,” she continued, adding that Congress “should respect D.C.’s right to pass to pass measures that improve public safety and public trust.”
The bill contains a number of provisions, including reforms to ban chokeholds, limit the use of force and deadly force, require the timely release of body-camera footage and mandate officer training on deescalation.
D.C. officials passed the legislation despite objections from the police union, and Republicans have argued it will undercut officers’ ability to do their job.
Biden’s veto threat comes a few weeks after he signed off on another measure of disapproval to block a separate D.C. public safety law.
That bill would have eliminated most mandatory sentences, lowered penalties for a number of violent offenses, including carjackings and robberies, and expanded the requirement for jury trials in most misdemeanor cases.
Biden and White House officials said at the time that they opposed lowering penalties for offenses like car-jacking, but the decision caused an uproar among Democrats, who believed it contradicted the president’s support for D.C.’s right to self-govern. That decision also caught a number of House Democrats, who had voted against the resolution of disapproval, off guard.
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