For the first time, the District of Columbia could move forward with a budget that is not tied to the federal appropriations process, thanks to a court decision issued Wednesday.
“I have to confer with our general counsel, but I expect that we’re going to have to follow the law, which is budget autonomy. Which means we’ll be voting twice and sending the budget to the Congress as we do with any other law,” D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said in a phone interview. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court dismissed a case surrounding the local Budget Autonomy Act, prompting D.C. officials and activists to argue it could now take effect. Mendelson indicated he believed the act could take effect, but he stopped short of definitively saying he would move forward with the new budget process under the act. He expects to "get clarity" about the ruling and come to a final decision about the next step over the next two weeks.