One of the District’s greatest congressional allies, former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., returned to Capitol Hill on Thursday and rallied support.
Begich convened the D.C.-focused subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to talk about the impacts of federal government shutdowns on the District, but Davis and other witnesses focused on the city’s need for budget autonomy.
Davis, who helped establish the D.C. Financial Control Board and pushed D.C. voting rights during his 14-year tenure in the House, testified that the city’s growing tax base, surplus of revenue and good credit record prove “the need for congressional micro-management is no longer present, as the city has shown itself to be a responsible steward of its own destiny.”
The city’s finances looked better than ever in fiscal 2013, with D.C.’s end-of-year surplus reaching a record $1.75 billion, according to D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWitt.
One effect of the District being subject to congressional approval of its local spending is that Republican lawmakers may set social policy via riders to spending legislation.
The practical effect of the referendum has yet to be seen, because Congress’ fiscal 2014 spending deal granted the District the ability to spend local funds through September 2015.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.