- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 30, 2022

House Republicans signaled on Thursday that the exploding crime rate in the District of Columbia might warrant congressional intervention if Mayor Muriel Bowser does not get serious about combating violence.

GOP lawmakers on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees say that Ms. Bowser needs to be held accountable for crime spiking by 11% over the past year.

“All Americans should feel safe in their capital city, but radical left-wing policies have enabled 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 not taking the actions needed to restore order in our nation’s capital and ensure the safety of all citizens who live in or visit D.C.”

Mr. Comer and his counterpart on the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, sent a letter Thursday to Ms. Bowser demanding a briefing on the city’s efforts to combat crime.

“For over a year, Republicans have raised concerns about D.C.’s soaring crime and deteriorating conditions,” they wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained exclusively by The Washington Times. “The D.C. government, however, has ignored all requests for information. It is past time you take action to restore order to the nation’s capital.”

Republicans note that the rise in bloodshed has correlated with the ascendance of the defund the police movement and other far-left causes embraced by the District’s political leadership.

SEE ALSO: D.C. is nation’s worst-run city, study says

District Attorney General Karl Racine, for instance, has sought to make “restorative justice” the chief focus of his office. The result has been an unwillingness to prosecute, to the full extent of the law, criminals responsible for heinous acts like carjacking and murder.

At the same time, the D.C. Council has cut the city’s police budget in recent years. City council members, in particular, gutted $15 million from the law enforcement budget in 2020 in response to the national protests spurred by George Floyd’s death in Minnesota.

“This weak response will only ensure people visiting, living, or working in D.C. continue to be endangered,” GOP lawmakers wrote.

Ms. Bowser’s office did not respond to requests for comment on this story. In recent months, as the District’s homicide rate spiked by 21% compared to last year, the mayor has sought to crack down on gun violence and other crimes.

Her response, according to Republicans, falls far short.

Ms. Bowser, for instance, has championed a program known as violence interrupters, which tasks citizens with trying to mediate conflicts across the city. The program is part of the District’s push to stem crime without using the police.

“Under your leadership, D.C. continues to face violence and destruction,” wrote Mr. Comer and Mr. Jordan.

The House Oversight Committee has jurisdiction over all municipal issues of the District of Columbia. In previous years, the panel has served as an important check on the mayor and other elected officials. 

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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