WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden isn’t expected to veto Republican-sponsored resolutions that would block new District of Columbia laws that change how the nation’s capital votes and how the city prosecutes and punishes crime, according to people familiar with the matter.
City officials have spent nearly two decades trying to redo Washington’s criminal laws, including redefining crimes, changing criminal justice policies and reworking how sentences should be handed down after convictions. Voting law revisions would make it easier for noncitizens to vote in local races.
The Republican-controlled House decided to wade into city matters, claiming the district’s changes will contribute to already-rising crime in Washington — the number of murders in 2021 was the highest in nearly 20 years — and make it easier for some criminals to get out of prison or evade punishment all together.
The resolutions passed the House with some Democratic support and appear poised to clear Senate on a bipartisan basis as well, perhaps as early as next week.
By not vetoing the measures, Biden would allow Congress to nullify the city’s laws for the first time in more than three decades. It was not clear whether Biden would sign the resolutions or let them take effect without his veto or signature.
Biden has promised to veto other bills pushed by Republicans, but isn’t expected to do that for the district resolutions, particularly if enough Democrats sign on and send it to him, according to four people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss the White House’s thinking before final congressional action.
AP White House Correspondent Zeke Miller and Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.