Schumer Will Join Republicans in Voting to Block DC Crime Bill

(Bloomberg) -- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’d support a Republican-backed measure to nullify a District of Columbia law on criminal penalties, underscoring Democrats’ defensive position on crime before an election year.

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“I’m going to vote yes,” Schumer said at a news conference on Tuesday. “It was a close question, but on balance I’m voting yes.”

His statement came after President Joe Biden announced last Thursday that he wouldn’t veto the GOP-backed resolution. That marked a reversal of his position last month, when the White House said it opposed overturning the DC law.

At least three Democrats are expected to join Senate Republicans on approving the measure, in a vote scheduled for Wednesday. The GOP-led House voted to overturn Washington’s criminal code overhaul on Feb. 9.

Proponents say the overhaul would modernize the city’s byzantine criminal code, and that Congress shouldn’t interfere in local decisions. The congressional measure would override the changes, which include reduced penalties for some violent criminal offenses at a time when crime in Washington is soaring.

Senate Republicans have used the resolution to attack Democrats for their stance on crime. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that Democrats were trying to “jump ship at the 11th hour trying to act like they’ve been tough on crime all along.”

--With assistance from Laura Litvan.

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