Democrats Didn't See Biden Flip Coming

'We are being hung out to dry,' one says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2023 4:40 PM CST
Democrats Didn't See Biden Flip Coming
President Joe Biden speaks as he meets with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 3, 2023.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Biden's flip on crime legislation for the District of Columbia has left House Democrats steaming and Republicans claiming an unexpected victory. President Biden said Thursday he'll sign the resolution to stop the DC changes after White House guidance had led 173 Democrats to oppose the measure, the Hill reports. "A lot of us who are allies voted no in order to support what the White House wanted," one said. "And now we are being hung out to dry." The No. 3 House Democrat, Rep. Pete Aguilar—who rarely publicly disagrees with Biden—called the decision disappointing.

On the other side, Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik touted Biden's change as a GOP success to Axios, adding that Democrats' policies are behind "violent crime crisis." The crime bill has been much criticized by members of both parties. A Republican strategy has been to push Democrats into votes that can be used against them during campaigns; Biden's switch left members of his party exposed after being signaled that he'd veto the resolution. Democrats in the Senate, where the bill goes next, immediately said they were behind it all along.

The measure would end most mandatory sentences and lower penalties for certain violent crimes, including carjackings. But many officials—including White House aides—had cast the larger issue as home rule. A former mayor, Aguilar said, "I wouldn't want the federal government coming in and telling me what city ordinances to pass." Mayor Muriel Bowser had vetoed the plan but was overridden by the DC Council. "Today has been a sad day for DC home rule and DC residents’ right to self-governance," DC Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a statement. (More President Biden stories.)

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