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Press Release Published: Mar 29, 2023

Comer: Congress Must Block D.C. Council’s Anti-Police, Pro-Criminal Bill

WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) delivered remarks at today’s markup of House Joint Resolution 42, which would block the D.C. Council’s anti-police bill from taking effect. During his opening remarks, Chairman Comer outlined how the D.C. Council again has taken action to enact soft-on-crime policies that would hamstring the Metropolitan Police Department from keeping D.C. citizens and visitors safe. Recently, Congress blocked the D.C. Council’s “Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022,” which would have lowered the penalties for a number of violent criminal offenses. 

Below are Chairman Comer’s remarks as prepared for delivery.

Today we are considering Representative Clyde’s House Joint Resolution 42, a resolution disapproving of the District of Columbia Council’s Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022.

The men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department serve their community every day to help keep it safe and secure.

In doing so, they place themselves in potentially dangerous situations regularly to protect others.

And yet, progressive policies from the D.C. Council continue to hamstring District officers and needlessly place them in unsafe situations.

The D.C. Council’s Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022 does just that.

It requires untenable barriers officers must overcome to don riot gear for their own protection.

It creates a public database with an officer’s personally identifiable information allowing for activists to harass officers and their families.

It also creates additional liability for officers that are not found in other police departments.

These are just a few of the many impractical and outrageous proposals of the legislation.

The DC Police have seen over 1,190 officers leave the force since the beginning of 2020.

That’s about one-third of the police department. 

Nearly 40 percent of those officers resigned, choosing to leave the department instead of dealing with the increasingly impossible burdens placed on them by the Council.

Over that same time period, crime has soared in the District.

The Council has continued to overlook its law enforcement officers in favor of progressive soft-on-crime policies that only benefit criminals.

The citizens of D.C. and visitors to our nation’s capital deserve to feel safe, and our police deserve to have the resources to ensure the safety of all.

The Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act does neither of those things.  

If the D.C. Council wants to continue to down this path, they will have to answer to this Congress.

And we are not alone.

The D.C. Police Union, representing 3,500 members, the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, the California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations, the Fullerton Police Officers’ Association, and the Las Vegas Police Protective Association are strongly in favor of H.J.Res 42.

We see such broad support for this disapproval resolution from organizations across the nation because other jurisdictions know just how awful the D.C. Council’s anti-policing reforms would be as a precedent for America’s cities.

Additionally, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declined to sign this legislation into law.

That should be a signal of how extreme it is.

But the D.C. Council did not listen and proceeded to override her signature and pass it anyway.

I call on all of my colleagues to join me in supporting Mr. Clyde’s resolution disapproving of the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022.

Thirty-one House Democrats and thirty-one Senate Democrats have already joined President Biden and House Republicans this year to block another ill-informed D.C. Council legislative action by disapproving of the Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022.

The dangerous policing reforms addressed by H.J.Res 42 are equally bad, if not worse, for the current crime epidemic in D.C.

We must ensure that these pro-crime policies are not allowed in our nation’s capital.

I encourage all of my colleagues on the Committee to join me in supporting H.J.Res. 42 to continue these efforts to restore law and order to D.C.

I reserve the balance of my time.