DC Mayor Protests Budget Deal, Gets Arrested
||Monday, April 11, 2011
Approximately 300 District of Columbia residents descended upon the Hart Senate Office Building to protest the policy prescriptions contained in Friday night's spending compromise.
Following a rally outside the building, DC Mayor Vincent Gray, accompanied by several city government officials and dozens of local activists, blocked traffic on Constitution Avenue as an act of civil disobedience and were arrested by U.S. Capitol Police.
The budget measure, crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and President Obama, contains limits on the city's ability to spend money on abortion services and reauthorizes a school voucher program that the city government opposes.
Before being arrested, Gray and others blasted the budget bargain.
"DC deserves to be free," said Gray, "This is an absolute travesty. All we want to do is spend our own money."
"I'm disappointed in our president," Councilmember Muriel Bowser said, "He bargained away our rights."
"We are not treated like a colony. We are treated like a plantation," said DC Councilmember Michael Brown.
"Why should women in the District of Columbia be subjected to a set of rules that no other woman is subjected to," Gray said, "If we want a school voucher program we should chose that ourselves."
Many District of Columbia residents have a complicated relationship with the federal government.
Though home to thousands of government employees, The District does not have a vote in Congress. The city's license plates read "No taxation without representation," as a form of protest.
The city's submits it's financial plans to Congress, which has the final say in budget matters.