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'Leave DC alone': House Oversight Committee holds second hearing addressing laws

Eleanor Holmes Norton spoke at a "Hands Off D.C." rally on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. (7News)
Eleanor Holmes Norton spoke at a "Hands Off D.C." rally on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. (7News)
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Tuesday morning, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Accountability held part two of its congressional hearing and discussed D.C.’s current affairs specifically crime.

Washington’s crime rate is up 27% this year. Violent crime has increased by 13%. Last month, Republicans on Capitol Hill grilled D.C. councilmembers and Chief Financial Officer Glen Lee, and now it is Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s turn in the hot seat.

The hearing, titled "Overdue Oversight of the Capital City: Part II," began at 10 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building. The mayor was accompanied by outgoing Metropolitan Police Department Chief of Police Robert Contee and City Administrator Kevin Donahue. You can watch the hearing below:

SEE ALSO | 7News wants to know: How do we reduce violent crime in Washington, DC?

Ahead of the hearing, DC Vote, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and a local coalition called on Congress to keep its hands off of D.C.

“Congress deciding when it’s convenient for them or when more importantly they can score some convenient points to use D.C. as a place to score those points. There hasn’t been any positive legislation introduced, and there haven’t been any solutions offered,” said Bo Shuff, the Executive Director of DC Vote.

The mayor and the DC Council can make laws and pass legislation but Congress gets to review them and because this one relates to the criminal code they get 60 days to do so.

“This committee has been very intrusive into the affairs of the District of Columbia,” added Norton.

The Senate is expected to vote on a disapproval resolution that, if enacted, would nullify D.C.’s policing reform legislation.

Congress has oversight over the District of Columbia and its 700,000 residents.

Under the Home Rule Act of 1973, Congress has the final say over bills passed by the council and controls the local budget.

SEE ALSO | 'Hands Off DC': Rally held as controversial criminal code bill goes before Senate

“We are trying to send a message before this oversight committee that hands off D.C. means what it says, leave D.C. alone,” said Norton.

Tuesday's hearing comes after the feds stepped in for the first time in 30 years to block a D.C. law, the city’s revised criminal code.

“The members of the House of Representatives all have districts that they need to worry about and Eleanor Holmes Norton does too. There’s no reason for the 435 members of the house to get involved with the affairs here locally,” said Shuff.

7News reached out to U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves' office Tuesday and his office released the following statement:

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“We appreciated the opportunity to discuss our consistent prosecution of violent crime, the challenges we have faced with addressing misdemeanors, and the progress we are making to enhance public safety in the District of Columbia as we move forward.”

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