Obama does the least he can do on D.C. budget autonomy


Talk is cheap, Mr. President. (Susan Walsh/AP)

Before you start cheering, consider that the language is just that, language — and particularly meaningless language at that, appearing as advisory text that will get about a nanometer’s shrift in Congress.

As I noted in January, Obama continues to do the bare minimum expected of a Democratic president who can rely on the District for three electoral votes.

The Obama administration isn’t, for instance, proposing to include D.C. budget autonomy language as part of high-stakes negotiations with congressional Republicans on must-pass legislation. Nope, it’s offering exactly one paragraph:

The District of Columbia annually receives direct Federal payments for a number of local programs in recognition of the District’s unique status as the seat of the Federal Government. These General and Special Payments are separate from and in addition to the District’s local budget, which is funded through local revenues. Consistent with the principle of home rule, it is the Administration’s view that the District’s local budget should be authorized to take effect without a separate annual Federal appropriations bill. The Administration will work with Congress and the Mayor to pass legislation to amend the D.C. Home Rule Act to provide the District with local budget autonomy.

All the same, the something-is-better-than-nothing doctrine means Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D), Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and D.C. Vote activists will be giving POTUS a pat on the back Monday.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

local

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read

local

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters