U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) just admonished President Joe Biden for his handling of the Washington D.C. crime bill, the Washington Examiner reports.
Pelosi, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, did so at an event that was held at the University of Chicago on Friday.
Before we get to Pelosi’s criticism of Biden, though, let’s put the situation into context.
What’s going on?
Washington D.C. is trying to implement a controversial new crime law. There are multiple aspects of the law that make it controversial, including that it eliminates a large portion of mandatory minimum prison sentences for violent crimes and it reinstates the use of jury trials for misdemeanors.
The bill was passed in January by D.C.’s city council. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) then vetoed it, but the city council overrode that veto by a vote of 12 to 1.
Now, Republicans in the U.S. Congress, with the help of many Democrats are pursuing legislation to repeal the D.C. law. The legislation has already made its way through the House with the support of 31 Democrats.
Biden takes a side
What has, apparently, gotten under Pelosi’s skin is that Biden, this week, indicated that, should the legislation to repeal the D.C. bill make it through the U.S. Senate, he will not veto it. In fact, he has said that he’ll sign it.
Biden tweeted on Thursday:
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.
Pelosi was asked about Biden’s tweet on Friday. Pelosi said:
If he was going to do it I wish he would’ve told us first, because this was a hard vote for the House members. And it’s a hard vote for the Senate members. And the mayor of District of Columbia even differed from the legislators who passed it, so it wasn’t that clear.
Part of the difficulty for Democrats here is that many of them support D.C. statehood, and voting to repeal a law passed by D.C.’s counsel is the opposite of supporting D.C. statehood. But, on the other hand, not repealing the law would make it appear as though they are supporting a soft approach to crime.
Pelosi later added, “I understand why some people voted against. But if the president’s going to do it, hey, could you give us a heads up too in the House?”
The White House responds
Pelosi wasn’t the only Democrat to criticize Biden on this one. Biden, in fact, faced enough criticism that White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was forced to respond to it.
Jean-Pierre claimed that Biden did inform congressional Democrats about his position on the matter on Wednesday before he released the above tweet.
Whatever the case may be, the legislation is now headed to the U.S. Senate. And, it is expected to pass through the Senate at some point within the next week or two.