Norton Hopes to Avoid DC Government Shutdown
||Associated Press News Service (AP)
||Thursday, February 24, 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) — No one in Congress wants to shut down Washington's local government, but if the federal government runs out of money next week, that will happen, D.C.'s delegate to Congress warned Thursday.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, said she has submitted a bill to House and Senate leaders that would allow D.C. to continue spending local taxpayer dollars in the event of a federal shutdown. Congress has until March 4 to approve a spending plan that would keep the government running.
The last federal shutdown, in 1995, caused D.C. government to close for a week.
"That did huge harm to the district government and to the residents of the District of Columbia for no reason, with no congressional intention to close the district down," Norton told The Associated Press.
Norton brokered a deal with then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich to keep D.C. government running during subsequent partial shutdowns, and she said she's hoping to reach a similar agreement this time with Speaker John Boehner. She drafted the bill to call attention to the district's plight, she said.
Meanwhile, city leaders and Norton's staff are conducting research to determine whether D.C. can claim authority to continue spending its local funds.
"We are in the midst of examining other theories and other scenarios that could mean that the district would stay open," she said.
Slightly more than half of the district's $10.4 billion budget comes from local taxes, but D.C. government cannot spend any money without Congressional approval.c
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