Home Legislative Limitations Congressional Meddling in DC FY 2018 budget Part 2
Feb 20
It's already tomorrow! You got things to activate!
Congressional Meddling in DC FY 2018 budget Part 2 E-mail


Norton Calls Out Republicans for Hypocrisy on D.C. After House Budget Endorses Local Control Elsewhere

Jul 18, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) called out Republicans for “bright-light hypocrisy” on the District of Columbia after the House Budget Committee today released its fiscal year 2018 budget resolution, which stresses the importance of reducing the power of the federal government and empowering state and local governments. The budget, under the heading “Rebuilding the Proper Role of State and Local Governments,” says: “For too long, our political system has taken a top-down approach to governing… The federal government…mandates too much” and “has been usurping the role of the states and of local governments.” The budget was released less than a week after the House Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill that would prohibit the District from spending its local funds on marijuana commercialization and abortions for low-income women, as well as repeal D.C.’s medical aid-in-dying law and budget autonomy referendum.

“It is impossible to reconcile House Republicans’ outspoken support for local control of local affairs with their undemocratic, authoritarian interference with the District’s local affairs,” Norton said. “Republicans are completely unpersuasive to suggest, as they do, that local control stops at the District’s borders because Congress has constitutional authority to legislate for the District. Congress has the power to legislate on the federal issues that concern Republicans, too, yet their budget calls for the federal government to reduce its role and give more power to state and local governments, regardless of constitutional authority to address issues such as health care. That goes double for the District of Columbia.”




Norton Calls on House Parliamentarian to Set Record Straight on the D.C. Budget Autonomy Referendum, Which is Still Law

Aug 9, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today called on the House Parliamentarian, Thomas Wickham, to correct the new House practice guide, which does not accurately describe the law on the District of Columbia’s authority to spend its local funds.  The practice guide suggests that under current law, the District cannot spend its local funds without congressional approval.  However, under a referendum approved by D.C. voters in 2013, which was upheld in court in 2016, the District has the authority to spend its local funds without congressional approval, known as budget autonomy, though the Republican-led Congress has ignored the referendum and continues to appropriate D.C.’s local funds.

“We have great respect for the work of the nonpartisan Parliamentarian, but we are disappointed that the practice guide does not accurately describe current law,” Norton said.  “We assume this was an oversight, but the practice guide could be read as adopting the longstanding position of the House Republican leadership, rejected in court, that the District has no authority to grant itself budget autonomy.  While we recognize that the practice guide, which is more than a thousand pages, cannot be reprinted to address this issue, we expect the Parliamentarian to set the record straight in the Congressional Record now and in future editions of the practice guide. Otherwise, the nonpartisan guide will be cited in misrepresentations of D.C.’s legal authority.”

As originally enacted in 1973, the Home Rule Act required Congress to approve the District’s local budget.  In 2013, District voters approved a referendum amending the Home Rule Act to allow D.C.’s budget to take effect after a congressional review period, like all other D.C. legislation.  In March 2016, the D.C. Superior Court upheld the referendum, and no appeal was filed.  In May 2016, the House passed a bill (H.R. 5233) that would have repealed the referendum and prohibited D.C. from passing similar legislation in the future.  In July 2016, the House passed the fiscal year 2017 D.C. Appropriations bill, which contained the text of H.R. 5233.  The Senate did not take up a bill repealing the referendum.  D.C. passed its fiscal year 2017 local budget pursuant to the referendum and transmitted it to Congress for a 30-day review period.  Neither chamber considered a resolution nullifying the D.C.-passed budget during the review period.  The enacted fiscal year 2017 D.C. Appropriations bill appropriated D.C.’s local funds, thereby preempting the D.C.-passed budget, but did not repeal the referendum.  The House Appropriations Committee-passed fiscal year 2018 D.C. Appropriations bill contains the text of H.R. 5233.  The Senate has not introduced its fiscal year 2018 D.C. Appropriations bill.

Home Legislative Limitations Congressional Meddling in DC FY 2018 budget Part 2