Senate Markup Tomorrow - DC Voting Rights Coalition Makes Preemptive Strikes
September 14, 2011
For Immediate Release
Washington, DC, September 14, 2011. DC Vote launches effort to prevent Congress from adding social policy riders to the DC budget as the Senate begins
markup of the Fiscal Year 2012 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the bill today.
No amendments were offered. The House Appropriations Committee added an abortion prohibition on June 23, 2011 to their financial services bill. The full Senate Committee
on Appropriations will mark up the bill tomorrow, Thursday, September 15 at 2:00 PM in Senate Hart 216, during which DC-related amendments may be offered.
DC Vote is preparing for yet another round of assaults on the rights of citizens living in the District of Columbia.
The 112th Congress has repeatedly denied the District the freedom to use its locally collected tax revenue to assist low-income women in obtaining equal access
to abortion services through Medicaid. This freedom is enjoyed by local jurisdictions across the nation, including 17 states that provide local funds for
insurance coverage of abortion. This ban was included in the Continuing Resolution for FY 2011. DC Mayor Vincent Gray and 40 other people engaged in
civil disobedience in response to the rider. The Capitol Hill Police arrested them. 31 additional DC democracy activists have been arrested in 5 subsequent
protests on Capitol Hill and at the White House. All arrests have been in response to policy riders or stand-alone bills that infringe on the District of
Columbia's local autonomy. This brings the arrest total to 72 people.
"DC has neither a voice nor a vote in the Senate to defend against these attacks on our local democracy," said Ilir Zherka, Executive Director of DC Vote.
"The DC Voting Rights Coalition calls on the Appropriations Committee to pass a clean bill. Senators should not tread on the rights of DC residents.
Washingtonians deserve the same rights to local government as all other Americans."
Earlier this week, DC Vote sent a
letter signed by nearly 100 organizations from
across the nation to all members of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to "oppose any effort to force Congress' views on the District of Columbia."
Additionally, our coalition activated the grass roots in Illinois and Louisiana, states with key Senators on the Appropriations Committee,
as well as other states. Thousands of constituents contacted Senators Kirk (R-IL), Landrieu (D-LA), and others urging the senators to vote NO on any
amendments to the District of Columbia's 2012 budget.
DC Vote joins Congresswoman Norton in applauding
Congresswomen Louise Slaughter (NY-28) and Diana DeGette (CO-1), the co-chairs of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus,
for sending a letter signed by 59 members of the House to both House and Senate Democratic appropriators yesterday.
In the letter, the representatives urged their Senate colleagues "to stand strong and to protect the democratic self-government of the District of Columbia."