Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

DC Politicians Protest Budget Bill

Congressional limitations on D.C. autonomy in the past week have sparked protest from Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and the arrest of Mayor Vincent Gray.

Norton, D.C.’s nonvoting delegate in Congress, testified Tuesday before the House Rules Committee regarding the budget deal reached late last week.

The deal included an anti-home rule provision, denied the District the ability to spend local funds on abortions for low-income women and funded a school voucher program that is unpopular among D.C. politicians.

“The budget deal was struck by throwing District residents under the bus,” Norton said.

She also criticized Congress for using D.C. issues as negotiating tools.

“District residents are not bargaining chips. All I ask is that you treat my constituents with the respect you demand for your own residents,” Norton said. “If you do, you will not support legislation that strips the power of a local government to spend its own money and determine its policies.”

Despite Norton’s testimony, the deal was passed by the House of Representatives Thursday afternoon by a vote of 260 to 167. Fifty-nine House Republicans and more than half the chamber’s Democratic minority voted against the legislation.

In contrast, the bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 81 to 19. President Obama must sign the bill by midnight on Friday to avert a federal government shutdown.

On Monday, Gray and several members of the D.C. Council were arrested for blocking traffic while protesting for D.C. voting rights. He was released from Capitol Police headquarters after 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

“If this isn’t taxation without representation, I don’t know what is,” Gray said to The Associated Press before being arrested.

“It was worth being arrested,” Gray said in a press conference on Tuesday. “Enough is enough. We’re tired of being dictated to by people who don’t have a clue about the District of Columbia.”

Gray’s arrest made him the second D.C. mayor to go to jail for protesting for the District’s rights. Sharon Pratt Kelly, mayor from 1991 to 1994, was arrested during a similar protest in 1993.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney justified the controversial provisions in the budget by saying hard choices needed to be made, according to The Associated Press.

But Gray’s arrest won support from other D.C. politicians, including Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, whose constituency includes Georgetown.

“The recent arrest of Mayor Gray and several council members should serve as a call to action for all of the District’s residents to get involved in the statehood movement and help put an end to taxation without representation,” Evans’ spokesman Andrew Huff said on behalf of the councilmember.

Norton also applauded the efforts of Monday’s protesters, saying she hoped that they would be able to sway Congress.

“This Congress may not have heard my pleas to respect home rule, but you have now heard from District residents,” she said about the protests. “This is a response that Americans would expect when Congress tries to invade the local self-governing authority of any U.S. jurisdiction.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Hoya Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *