WASHINGTON - The argument for D.C. statehood is decades old, but Mayor Vincent Gray says that local support for the idea is reaching new heights, and got a national boost this week.
Speaking at a gathering of business and community leaders this week, Gray moved the topic from jobs to statehood, saying, "It's time for the people of this city to get their hearts into this endeavor. ... Nobody is going to fight our battles for us."
D.C. Mayor Vince Gray hopes to harness the energy and emotion surrounding this weekend's celebration of the March on Washington's 50th anniversary.
He's renewing his push for D.C. statehood.
"It is time for it to change," Gray says. "People will make this happen, because it is time for this kind of indignity to stop."
The mayor points to taxation without representation, highlighting D.C. veterans who serve their country but have lacked a member of Congress with full voting rights.
Many Americans are annoyed. Government employees are worried. Others have started the blame game.
The potential federal shutdown, now just days away, has elicited a variety of responses. In the District, leaders are considering a different response: defying Congress and keeping the city government running.
A federal shutdown would hit particularly hard in the District because the city needs federal approval to spend its own money -- regardless of its funding source.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has deemed all District services essential in order to keep local government services up and running even if the federal government would shut down.
Gray sent a brief letter Wednesday to the federal Office of Management and Budget saying all operations of D.C. government are "excepted" activities "essential to the protection of public safety, health and property and therefor will continue to be performed during a lapse in appropriations."
In other words, city services would continue in the event of a shutdown.