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House passes DC crime legislation that would impact sentencing laws

The House passed legislation Wednesday that would curb the ability of local D.C. judges to reduce sentences for younger criminals and bar local government officials from changing sentencing laws, thanks in part to the support of 18 Democrats.

The final tally was 225-181.

The bill, led by Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), has little chance of becoming law. The Biden administration indicated it strongly opposed the measure even as it stopped short of formally threatening a veto.

Local D.C. government officials roundly condemned the measure, with Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton calling it a “radical, undemocratic and paternalistic bill” on the House floor.

Efforts to influence local Washington governance matters are not new this Congress. President Joe Biden signed a repeal in March 2023 of changes to the D.C. criminal code after it passed both chambers of Congress on a bipartisan basis.

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