House of Representatives Passes Resolution to Block Policing Reform Bill in D.C.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to pass a Republican-led resolution aimed at blocking a policing bill in Washington, D.C., that has been implemented to improve police accountability and reform.[0] The Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022, which was passed by the D.C. Council in December, includes measures such as the banning of chokeholds, the release of body camera footage after incidents of violence, and the public disclosure of police disciplinary records.[1] The bill aims to make it easier to fire officers for misconduct, restrict the hiring of officers with prior misconduct, establish public databases of sustained allegations of officer misconduct, and increase civilian oversight of police.[1] The bill also cements a requirement that videos captured on body cameras be released publicly in the cases of police-involved shootings.[2]

The resolution of disapproval passed by the House seeks to nullify the D.C. law, thereby preventing it from taking effect permanently.[0] The bill has been hailed as a response to the nationwide protests against police brutality that followed the murder of George Floyd in 2020. The law was passed in response to the protests and has been designed to improve public safety and public trust in law enforcement.[2] The law is consistent with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, President Biden's executive order on policing, and police accountability and transparency legislation enacted by dozens of states, both red and blue.

The White House has confirmed that President Biden intends to veto the resolution if it passes in the House and the Senate.[3] The president has previously stated that he does not support every provision in the D.C. law, but he supports common-sense police reform.[3] The president's statement of administration policy said that he would not support the push to overturn commonsense changes such as banning chokeholds, limiting the use of force and deadly force, improving access to body-worn camera footage, and requiring officer training on de-escalation and use of force.[4] The White House has stated that Congress should respect the District of Columbia's right to pass measures that improve public safety and public trust.[5]

Delaware's Democratic representative.[4] Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.'s nonvoting representative in the House, slammed the D.C. disapproval resolutions during a floor speech as “profoundly undemocratic, paternalistic legislation,” telling House members to “keep your hands off of D.C.” Norton charged that the House of Representatives, in which the nearly 700,000 District of Columbia residents have no voting representation, is attempting to nullify legislation enacted by D.C.'s local legislature, whose members are elected by D.C. residents.[1]

The vote on the resolution reflects a broader partisan debate in Congress over violent crime and law enforcement accountability and retention, but Democrats have also tied it to a clash on D.C. home rule and District statehood. There are divides among congressional Democrats over the issues of crime and policing, with some in the party wary of being criticized by Republicans as “weak on crime.”[0] The resolution passed on a 229-189 vote, with 14 Democrats breaking with their party leadership and voting with all 215 Republicans.[6]

This resolution is part of a strategy by Republicans to put a spotlight on crime in the U.S., a hot-button issue that resonated with voters during the 2022 midterm elections. By casting their votes, Democrats are recorded, which prompts some moderates to oppose the party's efforts and gives GOP lawmakers the opportunity to label them as being lenient on crime.[2] Just a month ago, Congress passed a resolution that overturned a Washington, D.C., law lowering penalties for certain crimes, which GOP critics painted as “soft on crime.”[6] The issue deeply divided the party, and a majority of Senate Democrats – 33 of them – joined with all Republicans in voting to overturn the Washington, D.C., crime legislation.[7]

0. “House passes resolution to block DC policing bill -” KTEN, 19 Apr. 2023,

1. “Norton Speaks on House Floor Opposing Resolution to Nullify D.C. Policing Reform Legislation”, 19 Apr. 2023,

2. “House votes to block DC police accountability bill” The Hill, 19 Apr. 2023,

3. “House plans vote on resolution to block DC police reform law next week” Washington Examiner, 13 Apr. 2023,

4. “House passes resolution to overturn DC policing changes” msnNOW, 20 Apr. 2023,

5. “Biden Vows to Veto GOP Bills Rolling Back D.C. Police Reform, Protecting Sex-Segregated Sports” National Review, 17 Apr. 2023,

6. “House poised to pass resolution overturning D.C. police reform bill” AOL, 19 Apr. 2023,

7. “House passes resolution overturning D.C. police reform bill” NBC News, 19 Apr. 2023,

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