Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Campus Notebook: Capitol Burglaries Fit Recent Pattern

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (left) and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray have been guarded about the D.C. Council's move to gain budget autonomy for the District through a referendum.

There were seven thefts in 2010; one Theft I incident in Longworth. There were two Theft II incidents in Rayburn, two in Longworth, one in Dirksen and one at the Capitol Police headquarters.

The previous two years showed a quieter four-week period. 

In 2009, there were three thefts: one Theft I in Longworth and two Theft IIs, one in Dirksen and another in the Ford House Office Building. 

In 2008, there were just two burglaries, one Theft I in Rayburn and one Theft II in Hart.

No Clear Path for D.C. Budget Autonomy

The D.C. Council on Tuesday unanimously introduced legislation to authorize a charter referendum unlinking the city's budget from the Congressional appropriations process, a move that prompted a chilly response on Capitol Hill.

Heartened by momentum surrounding the issue on Capitol Hill but skeptical that it will yield budget autonomy legislation that is free of policy riders on issues such as gun control and abortion, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) introduced a bill that would let residents vote on a referendum to amend the city charter to accomplish that goal. 

If the referendum passes, Congress would have 35 days to pass a disapproval resolution to prevent the measure from automatically going into effect.

House Republicans have not reacted well to the news that the local government is attempting to circumvent Congress.

"The D.C. Council seems committed to grandstanding on this issue even when it comes at the price of complicated budget autonomy efforts in Congress," a House Republican aide said. "There are leaders in D.C. who want to work with Congress."

Mayor Vincent Gray and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) tout the inroads they have made with Republicans on Capitol Hill who they believe could help shepherd D.C. budget autonomy further along.

High-ranking officials in local government are also concerned that the referendum would not pass legal muster, even though advocates say their attorneys have given the maneuver the green light.

Norton has been careful to neither fully endorse nor fully blast the D.C. Council's new strategy, which has the support of local activists.

"She continues to pursue a budget autonomy bill in Congress in order to preserve the bipartisan Congressional support that has been building and may prove necessary, considering the many difficult issues raised by the referendum, and to preserve the city's options on other D.C. matters," Norton's spokesman said in a statement. "Whether through legislation or referendum, there is no clear path to budget autonomy."

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