Ask Congress to Refrain From Adding Social Policy Riders on DC Appropriations Bill
Today, DC Vote along with 41 other local and national organizations, delivered letters to all members of Congress urging them to oppose all efforts to undermine the District’s local autonomy though the fiscal year 2015 appropriations process.
The House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee is scheduled to mark up its annual appropriations bill Wednesday morning. As in previous years, advocates for DC local autonomy anticipate that some members will attempt to add “riders” that advance their own personal political agenda at the expense of DC residents.
“The Congress would never even consider provisions restricting the spending of local tax dollars in any other jurisdiction,” said DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry. “Those who seek to use the District as their personal political playground should know Americans do not believe Congress should have a say in our local matters. In fact, a 2012 poll* found 71 percent feel Congress should not have a say in how DC spends local tax revenues.”
“Congress should notice that we have a strong coalition that believes that the leaders elected by the people of DC should set public policy for DC – not members of Congress appealing to special interest groups,” Perry added.
Full text of letters and signatories follows.
*Purple Insights, April 2012. Available upon request.
June 16, 2014
DC’s Local Government Should Decide Local Laws
Dear Member of Congress:
We urge you to oppose any effort to force the views of Congress on the District of Columbia through the fiscal year 2015 budget.
We are concerned that the FY’15 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill will unjustly interfere in the District of Columbia’s local affairs by imposing social-policy riders that usurp the prerogative of the District of Columbia’s elected mayor and council and the citizens they represent.
The undersigned organizations, collectively representing millions of Americans, advocate on diverse issues but are united in our opposition to the inclusion of social-policy riders targeting the District of Columbia on the appropriations bill. The FY ‘14 DC appropriation included a provision barring the District from using local funds to provide women struggling to make ends meet the ability to make the personal decision to end a pregnancy without interference. DC is the only area in the country with this federally-mandated prohibition. Each year, DC also faces the threat of policy riders barring local spending on critically-needed HIV/AIDS prevention programs and in the past has even been barred from spending local dollars to count votes on a citizen-led initiative. These actions are unfair and intolerable.
Americans will continue to debate these and other issues in communities throughout this country, but what is not up for debate is who gets to decide these questions. The organizations below are all in agreement that DC’s locally-elected leadership should decide what is best for the people of the District of Columbia.
The Mayor of the District of Columbia and the DC Council were elected by DC residents to represent their best interests in the local government. Congress does not impose its views on any other local jurisdiction. We expect Congress to be consistent by letting District residents manage their own affairs without interference or meddling.
DC residents have no vote in the Congress to stop this egregious attack on their local democracy. We urge you to respect DC Home Rule and oppose any efforts that seek to force Congress’ views upon DC residents.
Abortion Care Network
Advocates for Youth
Alliance for Justice
American Civil Liberties Union
Americans for Democratic Action
Anacostia Coordinating Council
California Latinas for Reproductive Justice
Catholics for Choice
The Brady Campaign
Center for Reproductive Rights
DC Democratic State Committee
DC For Democracy
DC Federation of Democratic Women
DC Fiscal Policy Institute
DC Latino Caucus
District of Columbia Association of Realtors
District of Columbia Republican Party
Greater Washington Urban League
Human Rights Campaign
Jews United for Justice
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO
NARAL Pro-choice America
National Abortion Federation
National Council of Jewish Women
National Federation of Democratic Women
National Organization for Women (DC Chapter)
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Urban League
National Women’s Health Network
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington
Reproductive Health Technologies Project
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Union for Reformed Judaism
Washington Ethical Society