Republican Senator Suggests Congress Should Take Over DC Government


A Republican senator suggested that Congress should take control over the government of Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of a Democratic politician being carjacked at gunpoint.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah.) wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it was time to “invoke” Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution. Lee’s suggestion comes after Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) was carjacked by three armed men in the neighborhood of Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. on Monday evening.

“Time to invoke Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17,” Lee wrote.

Under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, otherwise known as the “Enclave Clause“, Congress is given control to “exercise exclusive legislation in all Cases whatsoever” over the District of Columbia. 

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Washington, D.C.’s government currently consists of a mayor and a council consisting of a chairman and 12 members. The government of the District of Columbia was established under the “District of Columbia Home Rule Act of 1973,” according to the website for the Council of the District of Columbia.

Lee added in another post on X that “D.C. is dangerous” and stressed “Congress has the sole power to make D.C.’s laws, and must intervene.”

Prior to Washington, D.C.’s Home Rule Act, D.C. had been established in 1790 from land provided by Maryland and Virginia.

In August, Republican Reps. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), and Bryon Donalds (R-Fla.) introduced legislation that would repeal D.C.’s Home Rule Act and give Congress the authority over Washington, D.C. Ogles cited an increase in crime, drugs, homelessness, and riots.

Should Congress repeal the Home Rule Act?

Washington, D.C. was reported to be on track for having the deadliest year in two decades after reporting 16 homicides at the beginning of August, according to Axios.

To date, homicides have been reported in Washington, D.C., a 38% increase from 2022’s 157 homicides. Washington, D.C. has also reported seeing 5,409 motor vehicle thefts so far in 2023, a 106% increase from 2022’s 2,630, according to crime statistics from the Metropolitan Police Department.

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