D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray says he will ask the federal government to reimburse the District for police overtime costs associated with the Occupy movement.
The District has incurred about $1.6 million in expenses related to the protesters who have filled McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza in the city since September, a segment of the self-described “99 percent” of Americans who have taken to the streets in cities across the United States to denounce corporate greed and certain economic policies, Mr. Gray told the TBD Newstalk program on Thursday.
Mr. Gray, a Democrat, simultaneously praised a trio of protesters who are using a hunger stirke to highlight the District’s lack of autonomy from Congress.
His comments come at an eventful period for District-congressional relations, as Capitol Hill lawmakers try to avoid a government shutdown that could negatively impact day-to-day activity in the nation’s capital when the clock strikes midnight on Friday.
Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, said he is committed to forging a bill that gives the District more autonomy over its own spending and allows it to avoid the tumult tied to federal wrangling over its own appropriations process. D.C. officials rejected an initial proposal by Mr. Issa last month, citing a provision that make permanent a ban on the city from using public dollars to fund abortions.
Advocates are watching this week’s debate closely to make sure federal lawmakers do not attach D.C.-related riders to its spending bills as it comes to the brink of a shutdown for the third time this year.