- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
D.C. Council deadlocks on amendment to budget
City workers don’t get furlough pay
The D.C. Council on Tuesday failed to pass a midyear spending plan that would have compensated city workers for four furlough days in 2011 after it deadlocked on a patchwork of funding priorities and whether it made sense to put the District’s payroll over its other responsibilities.
The council split its vote, 6-6, on Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s $63 million supplemental budget plan for fiscal 2012, which also addressed spending pressures in the D.C. Public Schools and other agencies. It needed eight votes to pass as emergency legislation, so the council might consider yet another submission from Mr. Gray while it tackles the more pressing budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The vote on Tuesday marked the second time the council convened to consider the mayor’s plan but could not reach a consensus on its priorities — even though it was considering the less arduous task of spending money, not making cuts. In mid-April, the council approved $8 million in funding to the unemployment compensation fund and $7 million to D.C. Public Charter Schools, while ignoring the rest of the priorities in Mr. Gray’s request.
“We need to put this issue behind us,” council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, told his colleagues on Tuesday.
“Sometimes, it’s like eating spinach,” Mr. Ribeiro said. “There are things you have to do, as an adult, to keep the government running.”
Mr. Brown, a Democrat, was among those who argued city workers should be paid for the quartet of holidays they took without pay in 2011 as part of cost-cutting measures, only to see the city get a windfall of revenue by the end of the year.
But he also entertained a compromise amendment by council members Michael A. Brown and David A. Catania, at-large independents, that would have paid city employees for two furlough days now and split about $10 million between the Housing Production Trust Fund and the D.C. Healthcare Alliance. City workers would have been paid for the remaining two furlough days after revised revenue estimates arrived in June, according to the plan.
Mr. Catania, chairman of the Committee on Health, is trying to close a $23 million cut in Mr. Gray’s fiscal 2013 budget plan for hospital and specialty care for alliance members, who are predominantly from the city’s immigrant population and not eligible for Medicaid.
The amendment, which had Mr. Gray’s support, failed on a 7-5 vote.
“I didn’t think the tea party would come to Washington, and it did,” Mr. Catania said, chiding his colleagues for failing to “split the baby” and resolve the matter.
“I didn’t make any promises to organized labor,” he had told his colleagues at a pre-meeting breakfast. “I’m willing to share, but I’m not willing to concede.”
Mr. Brown, the at-large member, said colleagues who supported payments to city workers managed to work against their own interests by shooting down the proposal.
“What made my compromise so nice,” he said after the meeting, “is workers would have been guaranteed money today. Needy families would have been guaranteed money today.”
Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, showed little patience for the supplemental budget at all. It rewarded agencies for overspending their budgets, he said, and “the issue of the furloughs has been very, very politicized.”
Meanwhile, a group of unionized city workers who congregated on one side of the council chamber to watch the proceedings enjoyed unyielding support from council members Vincent B. Orange, at-large Democrat; Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat; and Yvette M. Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat.
“These workers had nothing to do with the budget gap,” Mr. Barry said. “Why should our outstanding workers suffer the consequences of something they had nothing to do with?”
Mr. Evans, who supported full compensation for the city workers, also failed in an effort on Tuesday to kill off a controversial tax on interest income earned by out-of-state bondholders.
He wanted to use the proceeds from a tax on food vendors to cover the repeal, but his attempt was thwarted by Mr. Barry and other colleagues who couched the effort as a way to aid people of a higher economic status.
“What about them?” Mr. Orange said, motioning to city workers in the audience. “We took their money.”
Mr. Evans, who was offended by the class-oriented remarks and argued he had done actual legwork to find a funding source for his initiative, conceded the debate and allowed the proceeds to go into the general fund.
© 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Harry Reid, David Vitter spar over Obamacare 'exemptions'
- Oregonians likely to rely on paper Obamacare enrollment into January
- Oregon fails to sign up single person on health care website as states struggle
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama admin.: One in 10 Obamacare forms might have errors
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 Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Galaxy S4 owner claims Samsung tried to silence him after phone caught fire
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow