House Republicans indicated Thursday that the exploding crime rates in the District of Columbia could justify congressional intervention if Mayor Muriel Bowser does not take the fight against violence seriously.
GOP lawmakers on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees say Ms Bowser should be held responsible for the 11% increase in crime over the past year.
“All Americans should feel safe in their capital, but radical left policies have allowed rampant crime in the District of Columbia,” said Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the top Republican on the Oversight Committee. “Mayor Bowser must be held accountable for failing to take the steps necessary to restore order to our nation’s capital and ensure the safety of all citizens living in or visiting DC”
Mr. Comer and his Judiciary Committee counterpart, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, sent a letter to Ms. Bowser on Thursday requesting a briefing on the city’s crime-fighting efforts.
“For more than a year, Republicans have expressed concern about rising crime and deteriorating conditions in DC,” they wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained exclusively by The Washington Times. “However, the DC government has ignored all requests for information. It is time for you to take no action to restore order to the nation’s capital.”
Republicans note that the rise in bloodshed is linked to the rise of defunding embracing the police movement and other far-left causes by the district’s political leadership.
District Attorney General Karl Racine, for example, has attempted to make “restorative justice” the main focus of his office. The result is an unwillingness to prosecute criminals responsible for heinous acts such as carjacking and murder to the fullest extent of the law.
At the same time, the DC Council has cut the city’s police budget in recent years. City councilors, in particular, took $15 million out of the law enforcement budget in 2020 in response to the nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
“This weak response will only leave people who visit, live or work in DC at risk,” GOP lawmakers wrote.
Ms Bowser’s office has not responded to requests for comment on this story. In recent months, when the homicide rate in the district rose by 21% from last year, the mayor has been trying to curb gun violence and other crimes.
Her response falls far short, according to Republicans.
Ms. Bowser, for example, favors a program known as Violence Interrupters, which instructs citizens to mediate conflict in the city. The program is part of the district’s drive to end crime without police intervention.
“Under your leadership, DC continues to face violence and destruction,” wrote Mr. Comer and Mr. Jordan.
The House Oversight Committee has jurisdiction over all municipal affairs of the District of Columbia. In previous years, the panel has served as a key check on the mayor and other elected officials.