D.C. coalition urges House GOP members not to challenge home rule
Last year, an appropriations provision blocked the district government from using local tax revenue to fund abortion services for low-income women.
Past riders have also targeted other controversies like medical marijuana, same sex marriage and gun control.
But D.C. groups vow to fight back.
“DC is not a policy playground for Congress and we will not sit quietly while under attack,” says Kimberly Perry, D.C. Vote executive director.
District leaders are warning House Republicans not to challenge D.C. home rule during the fiscal year 2014 appropriations process.
“What I find most ironic and hypocritical is those efforts are being imposed upon us by those who vehemently and eloquently stand up and talk about states’ rights everywhere else they go,” says D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.
The coalition says it will fight back threats to D.C.'s gun control laws, needle exchange program or abortion services.
“Politicians don't belong in a woman's personal medical decisions as they don't belong in DC spending decisions,” says Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood Fed. of America executive vice president.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says Democrats in the senate could try to remove so-called riders.
“We have had those discussions but they know that the move is going to have to come if at all from the House,” she says.
Meanwhile, in 35 days, the budget autonomy referendum approved in April's special election becomes law July 10th unless congress intervenes.
Even then, nothing is guaranteed.
“We're not paying much attention to 35 days because if they 36th day comes, we know we're not home free,” Holmes Norton says.
“And if that happens, we'll be prepared and ready to defend it. And until then, we're counting each day and hoping that the referendum becomes law,” Perry says.
D.C. Vote says most Americans support budget autonomy, pointing to a 2012 purple strategies poll that found 78 percent believe congress should not interfere with D.C.'s local affairs by imposing social policy riders.
But many Republicans point to "article one, section eight, clause 17" of the U.S. Constitution which placed the district under congressional jurisdiction.
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