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Mayor Muriel Bowser makes remarks as she and other dignitaries celebrate the opening of The Ethel, a permanent supportive housing apartment building, in Washington, DC, on Feb. 13, 2023.
Mayor Muriel Bowser in Washington, DC, on Feb. 13, 2023.ill O'Leary / The Washington Post via Getty Im

Bowser: Effort to overturn D.C. crime law is 'indignity' facing city

Bowser vetoed a law changing the D.C. criminal code, but opposes congressional efforts to overturn the measure.


District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser opposes recent changes to the city's criminal code, but that doesn't mean she supports the congressional effort to block them from taking effect.

A bill blocking the new D.C. law, which eliminated some mandatory minimums and reduced other maximum penalties, is poised to pass Congress after President Joe Biden told Senate Democrats on Thursday that he would not veto the GOP-led measure. Bowser vetoed the measure, and the city council overrode her veto. But Congress has the power to block the law thanks to its unique powers over the District.

“I will never say that we want the Congress meddling in the affairs of the District of Columbia," Bowser told Meet the Press NOW on Friday. "That’s a slippery slope, again, that we endure not just with bills like this. We have a lot of issues to overcome with limited home rule."

Bowser, who said she learned of Biden's position through news reports, said this battle is part of a decades-long debate over D.C. statehood.

“Unfortunately, we live with the indignity of limited home rule in this in the District of Columbia. We’re taxpaying Americans. We’re in the shadow of the Capitol, but we don’t have two senators. We don’t have a vote. And we’ve been working for decades to change that. And until we become a state, we live with this process,” Bowser said.

Bowser says it wasn’t “too surprising” that the city council voted overwhelmingly, 12 to 1, to override her veto of the crime bill, saying the policing debate is taking place in cities across America. 

“I have been in favor of a system where we fund the right number of police, that we have public safety officers in our schools. And there’s a pretty significant philosophical debate about that,” Bowser said.