Delegate Norton: House Year-Long Federal Funding Bill Good News For D.C.
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December 8, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC -- Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said that the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution (CR) today that is "good for the District and good to the District." The CR preserves the District's ability to spend its local taxpayer-raised funds as it sees fit, including needle exchange programs, abortions for low-income women, and medical marijuana, with no new anti-home rule riders; provides critical federal funding to the District during these difficult economic times; and approves the District's 2011 local budget, which has been effective since September 30th under a procedure Norton negotiated years ago. In fiscal year 2010, for the first time in memory, Norton got all the anti-home rule riders removed from the District's budget. Although she was able to preserve these historic home rule achievements this year, she will have to work even harder to prevent their re-imposition in the Republican-controlled House next year.
The bill funds Norton's priorities this year, beginning with $35.1 million for her popular DCTAG program, which provides up to $10,000 annually for D.C. students to attend public colleges and universities outside of the District and up to $2,500 annually for D.C. students to attend private colleges and universities in D.C. and the region; $75.4 million for schools in the District; $375,000 for the D.C. National Guard; $20 million for the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority's combined sewer system to improve the waterways here, especially Norton's Anacostia Watershed Initiative; and $212.4 million for the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency and millions more for other law enforcement agencies, among other items.
Earlier this year, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government passed Norton's D.C. Budget Autonomy bill as part of its appropriations bill. Despite intensive efforts by Norton, the House did not include D.C. budget autonomy in the CR. Norton continues to press Senate leadership to include budget autonomy in their appropriations bill. Although CRs rarely contain policy matters, the Senate may consider a regular appropriations bill. D.C. budget autonomy would permit the District to immediately implement its local budget upon enactment by the city. Under current federal law, the District of Columbia's local budget does not take effect until Congress affirmatively approves it. Norton has given top priority to budget autonomy, second only to D.C. voting rights, because permitting the city's local budget to become law without coming to Congress first would have multiple and immediate benefits.