D.C.

Government shutdown 2013: Vincent Gray demands meeting with President Obama

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(WJLA) - D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has been aggressive about keeping his city functioning during a government shutdown from the outset, and now that eight days have passed, an angry mayor is demanding a meeting with the president.

Gray has repeatedly called his city's situation 'unconscionable.' Photo: Associated Press

In a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Mayor Gray requested an immediate meeting with all three to discuss how the ongoing shutdown is affecting the District.

"Our citizens find themselves innocent bystanders to a federal government shutdown, made even more insulting because we have no voting voice in Congress, and an archaic and unjust federal law prevents us from spending our own local tax dollars to provide services for which our residents have already paid," Gray said in the letter.

The District has been able to keep several city services going and keep city employees at work after drawing on reserve funds to pay its expenses. However, Gray says those funds will soon run out.

Gray made waves shortly before the government shut itself down last week, telling the federal Office of Management and Budget that he planned to declare all of the city's workers essential. Such a move is technically illegal, according to the Antideficiency Act.

The mayor's justification continues to be that the District should not be hamstrung by Congress when it comes to spending the millions of dollars it collects from city taxpayers on a yearly basis.

"I have determined that everything the District government does - protecting the health, safety and welfare of our residents - is essential," Gray said in a letter to the OMB's director.

In his letter to Obama, Boehner and Reid, Gray said that D.C. is already suffering due to the shutdown. The effects of the federal move in the District, he says, include the delay of payments to Medicaid providers, a compromise in public safety and the possible closure of the city's new health-insurance marketplace.

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