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Biden officially vetoes bill that would repeal DC justice reform measure


President Joe Biden on Thursday vetoed a Republican-led measure that would overturn police reforms enacted in Washington, DC, writing the legislation “would overturn commonsense police reforms,” such as chokehold bans, standards for use of force, rules around the use of body cameras and officer training programs.

“I believe we have an obligation to make sure that all our people are safe and that public safety depends on public trust. It is a core policy of my Administration to provide law enforcement with the resources they need for effective, accountable community policing,” Biden wrote, but “the Congress should respect the District of Columbia’s right to pass measures that improve public safety and public trust. I continue to call on the Congress to pass commonsense police reform legislation.”

Earlier this year, an administration official told CNN’s Phil Mattingly Biden would veto the measure if it passed Congress.

Republican sponsors of the resolution, which passed the House in April, said that the legislation would weaken the power of law enforcement officers to effectively respond to crime, labeling it an “anti-police law.”

Democrats have long argued that Congress should not interfere with DC’s government and have defended reforms outlined in the legislation.

Biden’s move to veto the Republican backed measure stands in contrast with a bill he signed into law in March blocking a different controversial DC crime bill after the district’s city council overrode a veto from Mayor Muriel Bowser. The president’s decision to sign, rather than veto, that measure drew criticism from the progressive wing of his own party.

In a tweet defending his decision to support the bill, Biden wrote that while he supports “D.C. statehood and home-rule,” he opposed provisions of the DC crime bill, including lower penalties for carjackings.

This time around, the Biden administration released a statement of administration policy confirming the president planned to veto the GOP-backed measure overturning police reforms before House passage of the bill.

The veto is the fourth of Biden’s presidency, and reflects a change in the administration’s dynamic after Republicans successfully took control of the House in January.

Previously, Biden vetoed legislation overturning a retirement investment rule allowing managers to consider environmental, social and governance factors when picking investments, a measure that would’ve rescinded the administration’s landmark water rule, and a resolution that would’ve blocked the temporary suspension of tariffs on solar panel imports.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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