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President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he will sign a Republican-backed resolution nullifying D.C.’s overhaul of the local criminal code. In an impressive display of cognitive dissonance, the president tweeted: “I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule—but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections—such as lowering penalties for carjackings. If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did—I’ll sign it.”

Both of those things cannot be true. The president cannot fully support D.C. autonomy and also approve a congressional measure that overturns legislation the District’s democratically elected 13-member legislature passed unanimously. Under the Home Rule Act, D.C. residents do not have voting representation in Congress and locally passed laws are subject to congressional approval. 

Biden’s announcement tees up a vote on a Senate disapproval resolution as early as next week, which is expected to pass with the support of at least some Democrats. Thirty-one House Democrats joined Republicans in approving a similar resolution last month. If successful, this would be the first congressional override of a D.C. law in more than 30 years.

At issue is D.C.’s revision of its criminal code, which has not been updated since 1901 and lays out definitions of crimes and how they are punished. The old code lacked specificity, which caused confusion for police and the courts, led to arbitrary outcomes for defendants, and resulted in disproportionate sentences. 

The final bill was the result of a thoughtful, data-driven, 16-year process that included input and approval from lawmakers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges. The mayor’s office also had a seat at the table, though Mayor Muriel Bowser launched some 11th-hour objections to certain provisions in the bill that reduce sentences for some crimes. She vetoed the bill, but the Council voted 12-1 to override her (Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White was the lone dissenter).

In remarks to local Democrats last night, Bowser sympathized with Biden and members of congress who support the disapproval resolution: It’s “a bad bill,” she said. “And I don’t live in La La Land.” 

As for the substance of the revisions, take, as Biden did, armed carjacking, a crime that is currently on the rise in D.C., for example. The old code contained a maximum 40-year sentence, which is the same for second-degree murder and twice the sentence for second-degree sexual assault. The revised code reduced the maximum sentence for armed carjacking to 24 years, which is still higher than the average 15-year sentence judges in D.C. Superior Court hand out for the crime.

Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • To see today’s COVID-19 data, visit our coronavirus tracker.
  • A man was stabbed to death in the Petworth Library Thursday around 7 p.m. D.C. Police say the victim, who has not been identified, sat down at a computer shortly before another man approached him and stabbed him in the neck. Library patrons disarmed the perpetrator and held him until police arrived. [NBC Washington, Twitter]
  • Former D.C. Police Officer Robert Anderson was sentenced to five months in jail for inappropriately touching women officers multiple times while on duty. After the first time Anderson assaulted a woman officer, he was transferred to another police district, where he assaulted two more women. When a civilian employee tried to intervene with the third incident, Anderson brandished a knife, according to prosecutors. [Twitter]
  • Amazon is pausing construction on the second portion of its HQ2 project in Crystal City just as the company announced plans to lay off more than 18,000 corporate workers. [Post]

By City Paper staff (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Alex Koma is away from his desk. Loose Lips Links will return next week.

By Alex Koma (tips? akoma@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Nevin Martell

Good Taste: Downtown’s Little Chicken Boasts Irresistible Big Chick Energy

Little Chicken, a collaboration between Casey Patten, Gerald Addison, and Chris Morgan brings bronzed and […]

  • Peak bloom is around the corner, which means it’s time to start plotting which cherry-blossom food and drink specials are worth seeking out. [Washingtonian]
  • Debby and Fernando Portillo-Gonzalez, the owners of 2Fifty BBQ in Riverdale Park, have been selected to join the U.S. State Department’s Culinary Corps. [WTOP]
  • If you’re craving super seasonal food, head north to Baltimore, where chef Chris Amendola is serving regional flavors at Foraged. [Post]
  • The influencer formerly known as DCFoodPorn has transitioned to posting healthy cooking videos as opposed to over-the-top imagery. [Washingtonian]

By City Paper staff (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Local Photographer Dee Dwyer Captures Southeast

D.C.-based photographer Dee Dwyer has spent years documenting the historically Black neighborhoods of Southeast, which […]

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Jru Anthony Defines Modern Pop

Pronouncing Jru Anthony’s first name isn’t all that complicated: Say it as it’s spelled, which […]

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Chitra Subramanian Creates Community Through Dance

Lynchburg, Virginia, is not the easiest place to be different—especially for a Hindu family from […]

  • “This partnership and TV show is about the culmination of a lot of the thinking around what a 21st-century museum should be,” says Melissa Chiu, the Hirshhorn’s director and lead judge on MTV’s new so-you-want-to-be-an-artist competition show. There’s lots of back and forth about this collab, but what do you think? … I think they might have a point. [Post]
  • Patrice Harris, a local boxing coach, discusses his role as a boxing coach in Creed III, which opens today nationwide. [WTOP]

By Sarah Marloff (tips? smarloff@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Congratulations to the Howard men’s basketball team, which won the MEAC regular season title outright for the first time since 1987 with last night’s victory over Norfolk State. [Twitter, Hilltop]
  • The Wizards defeated the Toronto Raptors last night, 119-108. They’re still holding on to the last place in the eastern conference play-in tournament. [NBC Sports Washington]
  • NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told Mayor Bowser he supports her plan to build a new football stadium at the RFK site and offered lobbying support on the Hill in a December phone call. [Post]

By City Paper staff (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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