Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Media Source: 
DC Vote - Press Release

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.

Sincerely,

 

DC Vote

Abortion Care Network

Advocates for Youth

AIDS United

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

DC NAACP

District of Columbia Association of Realtors

District of Columbia Republican Party

FairVote

Forward Together

Greater Washington Urban League

Human Rights Campaign

Jews United for Justice

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO

NAACP

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

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