Norton expressed skepticism about the constitutional and legal standing of a referendum on D.C. budget autonomy, but she is holding off on commenting until receiving clarity from the House’s and Senate’s parliamentary offices.
Fiscal 2015 would likely begin on July 1, 2014, speculated D.C. Council Budget Director Jennifer Budoff. She emphasized that the city had plenty of time for planning and preparations and that the budget would still be subject to “strong fiscal management” under budget autonomy, including a prohibition on deficit spending, limits on borrowing and a mandate that the budget be balanced.
Budoff also hopes “legal issues” will be worked out before the city proceeds.
But potential congressional actions are hard to predict.
“We do not speculate on potential future actions by the committee or by Congress,” said Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for House Appropriations Committee Republicans.
DC Appleseed Executive Director Walter Smith, a legal architect of the referendum, said it would be “kind of hard to see how there could be a penalty on the District because it enforces the law ... but that doesn’t mean that Congress couldn’t find some kind of way later to undo the legislation.”
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.