President Joe Biden gave a firm thumbs-down to Republican-led efforts to halt Washington, D.C.’s police reform legislation. This move aims to curb police authority and comes despite the alarmingly high crime rate and police staffing crisis in the District. The bill passed in the House of Representatives on April 19, and Senator J.D. Vance wasted no time introducing it to the Senate on May 11.
Biden vetoes Republican-led resolution to block DC anti-cop bill https://t.co/xACjdBWSQH
— Jon Nicosia (@NewsPolitics) May 25, 2023
The president justified his opposition to the resolution by claiming that it would put a stop to “common-sense police reforms,” such as banning chokeholds and limiting the use of force and deadly weapons. According to Biden, this resolution would also stifle access to body-worn camera recordings and impede the officer training on de-escalation and use of force.
We raised standards, banned chokeholds, restricted no-knock warrants, and tightened use-of-force policies to emphasize de-escalation and the duty to intervene to stop another officer from using executive force.
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 25, 2023
While the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2022 encountered some resistance from Democrats in Congress, Biden firmly stood by his decision to veto it. A total of 14 House Democrats and eight Senate Democrats supported it, but among them were Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.
Congress has the authority to change or override any D.C. laws pursuant to the District Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17). However, in this case, President Biden isn’t interested in exploiting that power. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has already suffered a significant drop in its officer numbers, plunging by more than 1,100 since January 2020. Therefore it is apparent that any further attempts aimed at curtailing its traditional duties would not only be ineffective but dangerous.
In conclusion, President Biden made a wise move in vetoing the resolution, thereby safeguarding the citizens of the District and upholding civil order. However, it remains to be seen how Democrats and Republicans in Congress will react to this bold step. One thing is crystal clear, though; Biden is not about to let this debacle spiral out of control under his watch.