On March 29th, 2023, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing to address the state of the Capitol city, which they deemed as “overdue oversight.” During the hearing, the Chairman of the Washington D.C. City Council, Phil Mendelson, testified and faced inquiries about crime rates and the quality of schools in the city. While expressing sympathy for residents who feel unsafe, Mendelson refuted claims that there is a crime crisis in Washington D.C., which caused some concern among committee members.
Mendelson also used the hearing as an opportunity to ask Congress not to reverse the city council’s newly passed policing bill. This bill has faced criticism from the D.C. Police Union due to its adverse effects on police officers and collective bargaining. Representatives Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., and Andrew Garbarino recently introduced a resolution that aims to undo the changes from the city’s new policing bill, citing it as “anti-police legislation” that will impede recruitment and lower morale.
Mendelson argued that overturning the new policing bill would hinder the city’s efforts to identify officer misconduct and make it harder to hold bad cops accountable. However, the D.C. Police Union Chairman, Gregg Pemberton, expressed his support for the House resolution, stating that the new policy favors criminals over protecting officers and victims of crimes. Following the hearing, committee Republicans began drafting legislation to reverse the policing bill.
Furthermore, both chambers of Congress recently passed legislation that overturns Washington D.C.’s newly enacted criminal code, which lowers penalties for crimes like robbery, burglary, and carjackings. Despite the city council withdrawing the measure after discovering widespread Democratic support for the Republican-led effort, President Biden signed the legislation into law.