- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
Proposal offers D.C. budget autonomy
Rep. Issa’s caveat is ban on funding elective abortions
A Republican proposal on Capitol Hill puts the District within striking distance of greater budget autonomy, a practical and symbolic goal of city leaders who have repeatedly sought to wrest control of their own affairs from congressional oversight.
But it comes at a price.
Draft legislation by Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, would allow the District to start its fiscal year on July 1 and use its own funds immediately after the city government approves its budget, according to a copy of the draft legislation obtained Monday by The Washington Times.
However, the proposal has one caveat: No D.C. funds can be used for abortions, except in cases where the life of the mother would be endangered or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, the draft bill says.
The bill would put D.C. leaders in the position of having to decide whether budget control is worth acceding to congressional interference in city affairs — and it wasn’t immediately clear Monday what they would decide.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting member of Congress and an outspoken critic of congressional interference in local matters, made no mention of the abortion clause in a brief statement Monday. She said she is reviewing the plan with Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown.
“Even though Rep. Issa and I do not always agree on everything, I appreciate that he clearly supports giving the District local budget autonomy,” Mr. Brown said, adding that he needs more time to review the proposal.
“He is aware,” she said, “that the pro-life movement placed a lot of pressure on Congressman Issa to continue the prohibition on using local dollars for abortion.”
Mr. Issa’s proposal follows up on an idea he floated at a hearing on the D.C. budget in May, and city leaders said they appreciate that he followed up on the comments.
Waiting on Congress to pass its federal budget forces the District to use an unusual Oct. 1-Sept. 30 fiscal year that splits the school year, Mr. Gray testified in May. It also risks the loss of vital services during a federal government shutdown.
Mr. Issa and Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican and chairman of a House subcommittee on D.C. affairs, said they were not willing to relinquish all their oversight, arguing that Congress still has a role to play. Yet local leaders hailed the May summit as a step in the right direction.
The proposal released Monday closed the loop on those talks, yet the abortion-related language likely will give local leaders pause.
City officials condemned a similar ban on locally funded abortions that President Obama conceded to Republicans in April as part of an emergency federal spending measure. Mr. Gray protested the interference on Capitol Hill, leading to his arrest later that month alongside several council members and activists.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- In rare bipartisan move, Congress tackles long-standing Medicare issue
- White House improvises again on patchy Obamacare rollout
- Key Obamacare official: Last two months much harder than anyone hoped
- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calls for review of Obamacare rollout woes
- More than a quarter million sign up for Obamacare in November
Latest Blog Entries
- Calif.: Give 'gift of health' by pledging cash for the uninsured
- Tensions hit boiling point over Obamacare enrollment figures, error rates
- Young, uninsured adults vital to Obamacare are not keen on enrolling: New Harvard poll
- Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox will promote Obamacare at Mall of America
- HealthCare.gov employs a new look once again
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Obama birther theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- Echoes of Cold War in Ukraine as Russia tries to rein in former Soviet satellites
- KEENE: James Clapper should resign for lying to Congress
- Kim Jong-un consolidating power or losing grip on North Korea's military
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Broncos-Chargers game ends with several stabbings
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow