Vote No on H.J. Res. 26 and Preserve DC Autonomy
Dear Leader Schumer and Senator McConnell,
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 national organizations to promote and protect civil and human rights in the United States, we write to express our strong opposition to H.J. Res. 26, the resolution disapproving of the D.C. Council’s passage of the Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022 (RCCA). The Leadership Conference will score the Senate’s vote in our Voting Record for the 118th Congress.
This resolution is another in a long line of attacks on democracy in the District of Columbia. D.C. citizens pay federal taxes and comply with all the other duties of citizenship, yet they are deprived of not only any representation in Congress, but also of control over their own local governance. With this vote, Congress would yet again micromanage the affairs of the District and relegate the more than 700,000 residents of D.C. to second-class citizenship — and without a single vote representing D.C.
D.C. autonomy and D.C. statehood are civil rights and racial justice issues. D.C. residents deserve the same right as any other citizens to decide the laws that are best for their community. It remains painfully clear that the right to vote is meaningless if the will of D.C. residents can be overturned by a Congress that gives them no say in the matter. The D.C. Council passed the bill unanimously, and 83 percent of District voters support the RCCA. The Senate must listen to actual D.C. residents and oppose this resolution — to do otherwise is to run roughshod over the will of D.C. voters.
Washingtonians are best situated to address criminal justice policies in their own community and deserve to determine these policies without congressional interference. The RCCA is a product of a 16-year project to modernize the D.C. Criminal Code, which the District last comprehensively revised in 1901. The process to revise the code was lengthy, thorough, and transparent, drawing from the input of current sentencing practices, code reforms in other jurisdictions, prosecutors, defense attorneys, the Metropolitcan Police Department, the U.S. attorney’s office, and others.
This revision aims to reflect best practices in sentencing and criminological evidence to ensure justice and fairness in the District and to make the law easier to administer for police officers, lawyers, and judges. We echo Mayor Bowser’s call and ask you to vote NO on this disapproval resolution.
Executive Vice President of Government Affairs