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Issa, Darrell D.C.'s best friend in Congress?

When it comes to greater autonomy for the District of Columbia, allies in Congress are in high demand and short supply. Many D.C. residents hoped the arrival of a Democratic Congress in 2007 would mean more rights for the District. No such luck. But to everyone’s surprise, it’s the current Republican House of Representatives that’s signaled the strongest willingness to toss D.C. a few bones, mostly because of one man: Rep. Darrell Issa of California. Issa, a conservative Republican, spends much of his time pestering the Obama administration with investigations as chairman of the House Oversight Committee. But that committee also has jurisdiction over D.C. affairs, and Issa surprised just about everyone this year by suggesting it might be time to grant greater D.C. budget autonomy, allow revisions to the Height Act—he and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton requested a review of the 1910 law—and permit the District to slap a commuter tax on residents of neighboring jurisdictions. The moves follow on the heels of a report last year by Issa’s committee that went easy on city leaders over the Sulaimon Brown affair. It’s gotten to the point where D.C. officials say that if any progress on some of these issues is going to be made, it has to be in the next two years, while Issa’s still committee chief.

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