D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton made a personal appeal to President Barack Obama on Thursday to remember the District’s precarious position when it comes to home rule in the Republican-controlled Congress.
“I thanked the president for his strong support of the District dating back to his years in the Senate, but I had to express my deep disappointment on the two riders placed on the District,” Norton said.
Norton, a Democrat, was referring to provisions added to a spending deal in April, in a successful effort to avert a government shutdown. One of the measures bars the District from spending its own money to provide abortions to low-income women. The other provides funding to continue a controversial voucher program for D.C. public schools.
Obama met with Norton and other members of the the Congressional Black Caucus for more than an hour in the State Dining Room of the White House.
At a time when D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and other local officials have been arrested to protest the provisions, Norton said it was important to remind the president that he must protect the rights of District residents.
“The president said that home rule was important to him because as the president, he is a resident of the District of Columbia and everything that happens in the District affects him,” Norton said.