Aug. 1, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Lack of Consensus Among District Advocates as D.C. Government Shutdown Looms

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Norton wants House and Senate leaders to approve a bill that would authorize the District to continue spending local funds in the event of a government shutdown.

The bill Norton is now pushing would strike a deal similar to the one she worked out with former Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., which allowed the city’s government to keep operating during the federal government shutdown from late 1995 to early 1996.

Norton sent a letter to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., asking for support.

“I do not believe any member wants to shut down the D.C. government and bring a large, complicated city to its knees because of a purely federal matter,” she wrote, noting that Issa’s bill and budget autonomy language in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s version of a D.C. spending proved the notion has bicameral, bipartisan support.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee who has championed D.C. statehood, believes the effect of a federal government shutdown on the District would be “swift and severe.”

“Shutting down the government is never a good option, but in the event of a shutdown, Congress should keep the District’s government open by allowing it to access its own funding and resources,” Carper said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “The residents and business owners of the District shouldn’t have to go without day-to-day necessities just because Congress can’t come to an agreement.”

Carper said he is working closely with Norton and his colleagues to address the situation.

“At the end of the day, a government shutdown isn’t a long-term or a short-term solution to our nation’s fiscal challenges,” he said. “I know one can be avoided if we all remember the two C’s — communication and compromise. I’m hopeful my colleagues and I can come together to find a compromise that averts an unnecessary shutdown.”

Without agreement on a funding measure or any D.C.-focused solution, a shutdown would occur on Sept. 30 if a continuing resolution is not adopted by both chambers.

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