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Campus Notebook: Emerson Being Selective in D.C. Cuts

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson said the appropriations bill that she plans to introduce next week will include cuts to the District of Columbia’s budget that may rankle city residents.

Though she didn’t single out any specific cutbacks that she plans to introduce, the chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which has jurisdiction over D.C., said the House version of the bill will dig “a little bit” into the city’s budget.

“I have not done an across-the-board cut. I’ve been very selective about the things I’ve zeroed out,” the Missouri Republican said Wednesday. “There may be a couple of things that they’re not going to be happy with, but it’s just the beginning of the process. And I have no idea what’s going to come on the floor. And beyond that, we’ll see what the Senate comes up with.”

Emerson must slice more than $3 billion from the subcommittee’s spending package for the remainder of fiscal 2011 in order to conform to spending caps agreed to Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee.

But she said none of this came up in a meeting that she held earlier in the day with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D).

“I look forward to working hard together, and we’ve got a lot of challenges. I know they’re running a $400 million shortfall. And you know, we are making tough decisions about funding the District,” she said. “Hopefully we can be helpful on the one hand, and he’s got to understand we’re making cuts on the other.”

Gray had a similar meeting Tuesday with Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee with jurisdiction over the District.

Renovating Russell

Residents of the Russell Senate Office Building have no doubt noticed by now the rampant renovations that have relocated several offices and unleashed a wafting chemical smell throughout the building.

Nearly every exterior office on the second floor is closed off, and a sign on one of the shuttered offices warns of a “lead hazard,” cautioning passers-by not to eat, drink or smoke on the premises.

But the Architect of the Capitol’s office said not to worry: That only applies within the contained areas, where the AOC’s staff is repairing plaster as part of Senate office moves.

“This requires removal of approximately 100-year-old plaster, which also requires the abatement of old lead paint,” AOC spokeswoman Eva Malecki said. “Typically for a Russell Building suite, that entails sealing a room within the suite, installing signage and commencing with the work in accordance with regulatory environmental requirements.”

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