House Republicans are setting up votes next week to shut down plans by the local Washington, D.C., government to allow illegal immigrants and other non-citizens to vote and reduce penalties for certain violent and non-violent crimes.
Conservatives say allowing non-citizens to vote will only entice more illegals to enter the country under the Biden administration and that lesser penalties will harm residents of a city who are already seeing higher crime rates.
Congress has a unique authority under the District of Columbia Home Rule Act to reject laws passed by the D.C. Council, and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said Republicans will take advantage of that authority next week.
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As early as Tuesday, House Republicans will have a chance to reject the D.C. Council laws by passing resolutions of disapproval. The first resolution would kill the law allowing illegal immigrants to vote.
“What this resolution would do is reverse the decision by the D.C. council that would allow illegal aliens to vote,” Scalise said on the House floor Thursday. “As we all know, our southern border has been wide open under President Biden. Millions of people have come into our country illegally, and he continues to keep that border open.”
The D.C. Council law “sends the wrong message to those who are seeking to come into our country illegally.” The sponsor of the resolution to kill the law, House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., agreed the law would only make a bad immigration situation worse.
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“The D.C. Council’s reckless decision to allow non-U.S. citizens and illegal immigrants the right to vote in local elections is an attack on the foundation of this republic,” Comer said. “This move by the Council is irresponsible and will only exacerbate the ongoing border crisis, subvert the voices of American citizens and open the door for foreign adversaries to peddle influence in our nation’s capital.”
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The second resolution, from Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., will give Congress a chance to reject a D.C. Council law reducing criminal penalties that even D.C.’s Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser refused to sign. Among other things, the law lowers penalties for crimes like carjacking, robbery and illegal possession of a gun at a time when these sorts of violent crimes are rising.
Bowser said she thinks the law “sends the wrong message,” but the D.C. Council overrode her veto.
Scalise said Thursday that by passing a resolution disapproving of this law, Congress will make it clear that it “does not approve of the city council’s radical decision to reduce penalties for a variety of crimes, including many violent crimes.”
While the House is expected to pass both resolutions of disapproval, the two D.C. laws will not be rejected unless the Senate also approves the resolutions and President Biden signs them. It is not clear whether Senate Democrats will consider either of them on the Senate floor.