WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Republicans in Congress are planning to stop changes to D.C.’s criminal code, a move that has prompted District officials to protest a possible Thursday vote.
U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) criticized his GOP colleagues earlier this week at a House of Representatives rules committee hearing. He said this move is a way to infringe on D.C.’s longstanding home rule status.
Raskin also said he believes the Republicans want to punish D.C. officials for pushing hard for years to become a state. He said that could endanger their future hold on power, given that the District is largely full of Democrat voters.
“The people of Washington are now apparently being forced to pay the price for stepping out of line and simply demanding equal rights,” Raskin said. “The majority wants to teach them a lesson for talking about statehood and opposing insurrection.”
City Council members approved changes to the century-aged criminal code that would reduce penalties for certain crimes such as carjackings, robberies and burglaries
While advocates for these changes said are needed as a way to better match crimes to appropriate sentences, Mayor Muriel Bowser and her administration contend that some of the changes would cause problems and add issues to an already taxed court system.
But both sides want the GOP majority to stay out of DC’s business and not block the actions.
“And they want to turn the clock back on DC’s home rule power and relive the glory days when Washington was run like a colony by some racists Dixiecrats out of the House District committee,” Rankin said.
The vote, Raskin said, would be “attacking Washington not just for its voting rights policies and criminal justice code” but for other issues such as gun safety policies and defense of abortion rights and decriminalization of marijuana.