D.C. Budget Autonomy Ban Clears Another Committee

House Republicans again vote to block District from controlling its finances

Kentucky Republican Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which voted Thursday to block D.C. from implementing a budget without congressional authority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Kentucky Republican Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which voted Thursday to block D.C. from implementing a budget without congressional authority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted June 9, 2016 at 2:13pm

House Republicans again voted to strip the District of Columbia of the power over its own purse strings, attaching the measure to an appropriations bill Thursday. The measure was already adopted in another bill by the full chamber  last month.   

This second attempt to block the city’s effort to control the money it raises through local taxes without congressional approval cleared the House Appropriations Committee when it considered the Financial Services spending plan. Language to ban D.C. from controlling its finances was inserted into the bill which includes the city’s budget, in another attempt to assert congressional control over the District’s budget process.  

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What a Long, Strange Case: D.C. Budget Autonomy

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It came after a failed attempt by the ranking Democrat, Nita M. Lowey of New York, to overturn the effort and allow the District to have full control over how it spends money raised locally.  

Rep. José E. Serrano of New York  followed with an amendment, similar to one introduced by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton last month, to write the D.C. measure into federal law but it was also defeated.  

Another amendment that would have allowed local tax dollars to be used for abortion services also failed, as it has in previous years .  

It was the second such attempt this year to slip language into a bill that would overturn the D.C. measure despite the law being cleared by a Superior Court judge and a public referendum.  

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Congress Aims to Keep Hold on D.C. Purse Strings

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Republican lawmakers have argued in other hearings and on the floor that the District’s employees could be subject to litigation because the city could not use funds not approved by Congress under federal law.  

Democrats have called it an attempt by the GOP to force the city into submission and impose Republican ideologies locally.  

At the hearing Thursday, Lowey told the panel that Republicans were attempting to use D.C. as a “voodoo doll” for their own political purposes.  

House Republicans adopted similar language in another bill it passed on May 25.  

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter


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