Oversight panel invites DC officials to testify on crime, city management
The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability has invited Washington, D.C., officials to testify at a hearing later this month that will “address general oversight of the District of Columbia, including crime, safety, and city management.”
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the chairman of the committee, sent letters to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen, D.C. Police Union Chairman Greggory Pemberton and D.C. Chief Financial Officer Glen Lee on Wednesday, asking that they appear at a hearing on March 29 at 10 a.m.
The requests came one week after the Senate — in a bipartisan fashion — approved a resolution to block D.C.’s revised criminal code, sending the measure to President Biden, who said he would sign it. The House passed the measure in February.
It marks the first time in more than 30 years that Congress and the White House blocked a bill passed by the D.C. Council.
“Congress has sent a clear message to the D.C. Council: it’s time to make our nation’s capital safe again,” Comer said in a statement. “All Americans should feel safe in their capital city, but radical left-wing policies have led to a crime crisis and rampant homelessness.”
“As the committee with jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, the Oversight Committee has a constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight of the policies that have plagued our capital city,” he added.
The Daily Caller first reported on the requests.
The D.C. Council unanimously passed a revised criminal code in January, but Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) vetoed it. The council then overrode the veto, 12-1.
The code would, among other tenets, eliminate most mandatory sentences and lower penalties for some violent offenses, including carjackings and robberies. Additionally, it would expand the requirement for jury trials in most misdemeanor cases.
The Biden administration last month, ahead of the House vote, issued a Statement of Administration Policy that said it opposed the disapproval resolution, leading House Democrats to believe that they were siding with the White House if they voted against the measure. Only 31 House Democrats ended up voting for the measure.
But earlier this month, Biden said he would sign the measure if it landed on his desk, infuriating House Democrats who felt blindsided by his decision.
Critics of the criminal code argued that it was soft on crime. In a tweet announcing his position, Biden said he did not support “some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections — such as lowering penalties for carjackings.”
Since taking the gavel of the Oversight Committee in January, Comer has launched investigations on a number of topics: zeroing in on Hunter Biden, the president’s son, the situation at the southern border and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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