A History of D.C. under Home Rule

The nation's capitol, Washington, D.C., has governed itself since 1973—kinda. Despite the passing of the Home Rule Charter, which delegated power to an elected mayor and 13-member D.C. Council, Congress still oversees the District. Every local law has to go through a 30-day waiting period for congressional review, and Congress has to approve the municipal budget every year.

Both the House and Senate have a subcommittee that deals with District issues. If Republicans take the House, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who doesn’t think much of D.C. autonomy, would chair the subcommittee. Here’s a look at key dates in the history of Home Rule and federal meddling in District affairs.

Drag to move timeline, click events to read more.

Congress' Greatest Hits on D.C.

In 2001, Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., blasts a D.C. Commission on Human Rights ruling that the Boy Scouts had to admit gay troop leaders—and says Congress had to step in and intervene because it's effectively the city council here. [Play Video]
During a 1993 debate on D.C. statehood, then-Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C., says he opposes the idea because the District's population was shrinking. By 2010, he predicted, fewer than 500,000 people would live here. Actually, D.C.'s population is expected to be over 600,000 once the Census figures are added up. [Play Video]
For years, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., sponsored legislation to ban D.C. from setting up a needle exchange program. In this clip from 1999, Tiahrt and Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla., clash with Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., over whether Congress should interfere with the needle exchange program and with a referendum on medical marijuana. [Play Video]
Former Sen. Lauch Faircloth, R-N.C., used to run the Senate's subcommittee on D.C. In this 1996 clip, he says D.C. "belongs to the nation," and compares it to Cairo. [Play Video]
During the 1993 statehood debate, then-Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, declares Congress should be considering whether to revoke Home Rule, not whether to grant statehood. [Play Video]
During a 1999 debate, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., says Congress shouldn't let D.C. spend any of its money suing the federal government to get more autonomy. [Play Video]

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