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Biden Signs Bill Opposing DC Crime Changes, Declassifies COVID-19 Information

WASHINGTON — President Biden signed into law a pair of bills Monday that are counterintuitive Overhaul of the Criminal Code of the District of Columbia And need Declassification of information about the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A measure disapproving of a D.C. Council bill to reform criminal penalties in the nation’s capital has received bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. Both chambers unanimously passed the bill to release information about the origin of the coronavirus, including any connection to a lab in Wuhan, China. Both were adopted earlier this month.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Biden issued His first presidential vetoRejecting a Republican-led measure at the Department of Labor for investment managers.

The president surprised many Democrats when he expressed support for the Republican-introduced criminal code resolution. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, vetoed the D.C. Council bill, and the Council overrode her veto. House Republicans then drafted a resolution to block the measure. Congress has oversight of the district under the Constitution and federal law.

The D.C. Council measure sought to reduce maximum sentences for some crimes, such as carjacking, burglary and robbery, while lengthening them for others. It would also eliminate almost all mandatory minimum sentences except for first-degree murder. Supporters of the congressional dissenting motion suggested that shortening any sentence sends the wrong message when crimes such as carjackings are on the rise.

the president Senate Democrats said That he would not veto the Republican-backed resolution, if it reached his desk. The vote in the Senate in early March was 81-14, after 31 House Democrats joined with all House Republicans to pass the resolution.

“I support D.C. statehood and home-rule – but changes the D.C. Council has put forward over the mayor’s objections – such as lowering fines for carjacking,” I don’t. “If the Senate votes to reverse what the DC Council did – I will sign it.”

White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre explained in a press briefing that “the president wants to make sure that communities, even in D.C., Americans in D.C. feel safe.”

The president’s support of the GOP-backed resolution surprised some House Democrats because the White House had previously issued a statement of administration policy saying it opposed congressional disapproval proposals.

“The Administration opposes HJ Res. 24, Denying Action of the District of Columbia Council in Approving the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2022, and HJ Res. 26, Denying Action of the District of Columbia Council in Approving the Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022,” A White House statement in February said.

The bill on COVID-19 would require Director of National Intelligence Avril Haynes to release any information about the origins of the pandemic and links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the city’s controversial viral research laboratory where the SARS-CoV-2 virus first emerged. .

The intelligence community has not definitively agreed on the origin of the epidemic. In 2021 the intelligence community had a report reflecting the findings indecisive, and that two theories were “plausible” to explain how the virus emerged: “natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated event.” Recently, the Department of Energy Dr Conclusion“With low confidence” that it is plausible that the virus originated in a lab, one theory is Backed by the FBI.

The White House has not previously indicated whether the president will sign the Covid-19 bill.

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Catherine Watson


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