As Congress gets closer to the end of the fiscal year, a broad coalition of political and advocacy groups is urging appropriators to refrain from attaching policy riders that solely affect the District of Columbia to spending bills.
“We are concerned that the FY ’14 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill will unjustly interfere with the District of Columbia’s local affairs by imposing social-policy riders that usurp the prerogative of the District of Columbia’s elected mayor and council and the citizens they represent,” the coalition writes in a letter to members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees. “The Mayor of the District of Columbia and the DC Council were elected by DC residents to represent their best interests in the local government. Congress does not impose its views on any other local jurisdiction. We expect Congress to be consistent by letting District residents managed their own affairs without interference or meddling.”
Coalition members include DC Vote, the American Civil Liberties Union, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, the District of Columbia Republican Party and the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.
The D.C. government has consistently faced congressional attempts to prescribe its ability to spend money on social programs such as abortion services and needle exchanges during appropriations season.
Norton Wants D.C. Seal in LOC
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., wants the Library of Congress to display the seal of the District of Columbia in its Main Reading Room.
The room displays stained-glass seals of each of the states, with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska. The two most recent states admitted to the union are expected to have their seals added to the Main Reading Room as part of a planned restoration of the stained glass.
Norton toured the library on July 2 with Luis Landau, a former docent who pointed out the D.C. seal’s absence. Norton noted that a separate display in the Library’s Members of Congress room has a D.C. seal, and she is citing that as precedent for adding D.C.’s seal to the Main Reading Room’s stained-glass display.
“We can see no reason why the D.C. seal cannot be added with the planned restoration of the stained-glass. We are insisting that the seal of the District of Columbia, whose residents pay full taxes and have served in all the nation’s wars, like the residents of the 50 states, be added along with the Alaska and Hawaii seals during the restoration.”
Norton has written to the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library, Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., respectively, to ask them to take measures to ensure D.C.’s seal is represented in the Main Reading Room.
D.C. Mayoral Race Gets More Crowded
Reta Jo Lewis, a former State Department and D.C. government official, joined a growing group of Democrats in the 2014 D.C. mayoral race.
Lewis, whose public service ranged from being a special representative under Secretary of State John Kerry to chief of staff for the D.C. Department of Public Works, joins D.C. Councilmembers Tommy Wells, who represents Capitol Hill, Muriel Bowser and Jack Evans in the Democratic primary. The incumbent, Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray, has not signaled his intention to run for re-election yet.