Though Congress is in the closing weeks of its current session, one departing Texas Republican has introduced a pair of last-ditch bills targeting the District of Columbia.
Last week, Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, introduced two bills that would apply to D.C.: One bill would require that a public firing range be opened within city limits, and the second would prohibit the city from using traffic cameras.
If anyone understands what a “grungy game” politics can be, it’s Capitol Hill staffers.
That’s what Johnny Barnes, an attorney who spent 25 years working for members of the House, theorized when the front page of the Washington Post recently announced that federal prosecutors might be moving closer to indicting Mayor Vincent Gray. Barnes huddled on Nov. 18 with about a dozen D.C. residents in the lobby of the Hart Senate Office Building, preparing to pitch staffers on why the District deserves to be the 51st state.
"I feel like the dog who finally caught the car," Sanho Tree, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, said at panel discussion last week. "What do I do with it now, you know?"
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., likely the next chairman of the Senate committee with oversight over Washington, D.C., said Thursday that he would like to hold a hearing on marijuana legalization.
When asked about his view of marijuana legalization in D.C., Johnson told a group of reporters, “What we can do is we can hold hearings to find out how it’s all working, to highlight the issues, highlight the problem, try and define the problems. So I think that’s what we should really do.”
The first D.C. statehood bill to be considered by Congress in two decades isn't go anywhere, according to the senator who introduced it.
An aide to Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) confirmed on Tuesday that the bill he introduced in Jan. 2013 will not make it to the full Senate for a vote. "At this time, the Committee does not have any additional markups scheduled," said the aide, referring to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, which Carper chairs.
Congressional Republicans on Tuesday picked Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah to take over the House Oversight Committee next January, succeeding term-limited Darrell Issa as the White House’s chief inquisitor and—more importantly for Washington residents—the District’s overseer on Capitol Hill.
Last year, Washington City Paper's Aaron Wiener wrote a cover story on Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, arguing that Issa had become the District's unexpected best friend in Congress. Issa is the outgoing chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which includes the District in its purview. And while at the helm of the committee, he surprised D.C. officials by pushing for greater autonomy for the city.
Republicans just won a national election campaigning against the idea that the federal government knows more about your health than you do. So will the party of federalism, local control and limited government overturn marijuana legalization in Washington, D.C.?
Looming over the District’s historic decision this month to legalize marijuana has been another mandate that voters delivered on Election Day: A Republican majority on Capitol Hill with the power to interfere with the measure when it goes to Congress for review.
But congressional Republicans appear to have other things on their minds.
“To be honest, that’s pretty far down my list of priorities,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who was maneuvering late last week to force a vote on U.S.-Iran nuclear talks.
Despite an overwhelming vote in favor of legalizing marijuana in Washington, DC, many worry that Congress will weigh in and rule against it. But in a rare sea change, one of the staunchest conservatives has joined Democrats in support of the measure.
During the midterm elections, 69.5 percent of DC voters – about 95, 880 votes total – chose to legalize the possession of two ounces of marijuana for adults over 21, as well as the cultivation of plants at home.