Washington, D.C., Council Chairman Phil Mendelson announced Monday that he has withdrawn a controversial criminal code bill from the Senate to forestall a vote against it.
At a press conference, Mendelson said the bill would be reworked and submitted again to the House and Senate some time in the future.
There is consensus on Capitol Hill about the decision by the DC city council to rescind its controversial criminal code revision: No one on Capitol Hill seems to know what this means for a potential vote mid-week in the Senate.
The DC city council rescinded its decision to soften the criminal code. Under the Constitution, Congress can serve as a super city council for DC. The House approved a bill last month to intervene on the criminal code. Then President Biden announced he would not veto the bill.
President Biden and some Democrats are afraid that the right will portray them as “soft on crime.” So, the bill faced a Senate vote this week to align with the House. The measure would likely pass with as many as 20 Senate Democrats siding with all Republicans to bigfoot DC.
This would have marked only the fourth time in decades that Congress stepped into DC affairs.
It is now unclear if the Senate could still have the vote this week, even if the point is moot.
“Not only does the statute not allow for a withdrawal of a transmission, but at this point the Senate Republican privileged motion will be acting on the House disapproval resolution, rather than the DC Council’s transmission to the Senate. We still expect the vote to occur,” a Senate Leadership aide tells Fox News.
Part of the question about whether there is a vote could be political. In other words, the GOP may just want to have the vote. But, the question is also whether the Senate could even have a vote, based on what the city council has done. That’s what everyone is trying to figure out right now.
Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn, also released a statement.
“This desperate, made-up maneuver not only has no basis in the DC Home Rule Act, but underscores the completely unserious way the DC Council has legislated,,” he said. “No matter how hard they try, the Council cannot avoid accountability for passing this disastrous, dangerous DC soft-on-crime bill that will make residents and visitors less safe.”
On Thursday, Biden had informed Senate Democrats in a closed-door meeting that he would not veto legislation blocking the D.C. Council’s move to soften crime laws.
Following the meeting, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., confirmed the president’s plans to sign the bill once it gets to his desk.
Biden also tweeted upon returning to the White House: “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.”
This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates. Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci and Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.