The House voted on Wednesday to pass a GOP-led resolution to block a DC policing bill aimed at accountability and reform.
The vote took place not long after a similar measure sparked tensions and division among Democrats. In March, President Joe Biden said he would not veto a different resolution to rescind a DC crime law – a move that sparked outcry from congressional Democrats who argued the White House had not made its position clear before the House voted. The resolution went on to pass the Senate and Biden signed it into law.
This time around, the White House issued a veto threat ahead of the House vote on blocking the policing bill, making it unlikely that what played out before will repeat itself. If the resolution, introduced by Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, passes the GOP-controlled House, it would next go to the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Republican supporters of the resolution say that the DC policing act would weaken the power of law enforcement officers to effectively respond to crime and have labeled it an “anti-police law.” Democrats have long argued that Congress should not interfere with Washington, DC, government and have defended reforms outlined in the legislation.
There are divides among congressional Democrats, though, over the issues of crime and policing, with some in the party wary of being criticized by Republicans as “weak on crime.”
The bill that the resolution would block was passed by the DC Council and is called the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022. It includes provisions related to improving police accountability and transparency, officer discipline and use of force reforms, and improving access to body camera recordings.
The statement of administration policy on the resolution says that while Biden does not support every provision of the DC policing bill, “he will not support congressional Republicans’ efforts to overturn commonsense police reforms such as: banning chokeholds; limiting use of force and deadly force; improving access to body-worn camera recordings; and requiring officer training on de-escalation and use of force.”
As a result, if the resolution makes it to the president’s desk, “he would veto it,” the statement says.