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Posted at 03:55 PM ET, 10/04/2012

Key Hill Democrats give budget autonomy referendum a thumbs-up


Norton says she’ll cast a D.C. ballot for budget autonomy. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

UPDATED 6:30 P.M.

On Wednesday, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) revised her earlier, carefully worded statement on the proposed budget autonomy referendum with a slightly less carefully worded statement. It confirmed that, yes, should the question go to District voters, she as a loyal District voter would duly vote in favor — and she “hopes and expects” her fellow residents will do the same. But Norton reiterated that she’s going to keep doing her thing on the Hill, “considering the many difficult issues raised by the referendum, and to preserve the city’s options on other D.C. matters.”

Today, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing the D.C. budget, released a more straightforward statement in support of the referendum, calling it a “bold step forward.”

“[T]he Council will be working within the powers it has been given by the Home Rule Act,” Serrano said. “Through this process, we will see the direct expression of the DC people’s desire for more direct control over their own affairs. This is democracy at its very core. The process that they have laid out is transparent and fair, and should be respected by Congress once it has taken place.” Serrano, too, reserves the right to keep the budget autonomy ball rolling on Capitol Hill — meaning the “two-track strategy” is alive and well.

Norton’s statement raises a question: Would Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), who was conspicuously silent on the referendum Monday, vote for the referendum? His spokesman, Pedro Ribeiro, is checking.

UPDATE, 6:30 P.M.: Asked if Gray would vote for the referendum, Ribeiro said, “Yes.”

By  |  03:55 PM ET, 10/04/2012

Tags:  Budget Autonomy, Capitol Hill, The Hill

 
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