Biden’s recent announcement to support legislation blocking the Washington, D.C., Council’s move to soften crime laws has divided opinions among politicians.
While some argue that the bill will embolden violent criminals and increase crime, others see it as a much-needed step towards criminal justice reform.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., was approved by the House in a 250-173 vote, garnering support from both Republicans and Democrats. A companion bill introduced by Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., is expected to pass the Senate over the next week.
Critics of the city’s bill have argued that it will increase crime and allow criminals to walk free.
However, supporters of the bill point out that it will expand eligibility from youthful, convicted violent offenders to people of all ages, as well as expand the right to a jury trial for those charged with misdemeanors but facing jail time. This is expected to alleviate some of the stress on the court system and reduce the number of people who end up in jail.
Biden’s decision has drawn criticism from some Democrats, who argue that the Congress should not override local decisions by councils. It remains to be seen how this controversy will play out, but it is clear that criminal justice reform will continue to be a hotly debated topic in the coming months.