City Desk

Meet Your New D.C. Council: Congress!

The budget deal struck by Congress and the White House last weekend kept D.C. libraries and rec centers open by averting a government shutdown. But it also included policy “riders” that banned the District from spending any of its local budget on abortion and ordered the city to continue a school voucher program. Since federal lawmakers seem to want to moonlight as the D.C. Council, here are local assignments for some of the most outspoken ones. After all, with great power to interfere in local issues comes great responsibility to answer phone calls about municipal affairs.

New D.C. Councilmember: Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas

Meet Your New D.C. Council: Congress!

How to Reach Him: (202) 225-3035, @replouiegohmert

Agency: Metropolitan Police Department

After Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in January, Gohmert proposed legislation to allow members of Congress to carry guns in D.C. Don’t call 911 if you hear gunfire; call Gohmert, and he’ll come shoot back for you.

* * *

New D.C. Councilmember: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

Meet Your New D.C. Council: Congress!

How to Reach Him: (202) 225-4000, @GOPLeader

Agency: Commission on the Arts and Humanities

The House GOP’s second-in-command has plenty of pull in the local art scene: When he complained that "A Fire in My Belly" was “an obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season,” the Smithsonian pulled it from the “Hide/Seek” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Call him for help getting your gallery launched.

* * *

New D.C. Councilmember: Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

Meet Your New D.C. Council: Congress!

How to Reach Him: (202) 225-3906, @darrellissa

Agency: 311 Service Request Center

Issa’s already so interested in D.C. politics that his staff holds meetings with Sulaimon Brown. So he surely won’t mind if you call him to request recycling containers, ask for graffiti to be removed, or call for rat abatement services.

* * *

New D.C. Councilmember: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio

Meet Your New D.C. Council: Congress!

How to Reach Him: (202) 225-0600, @SpeakerBoehner

Agency: D.C. Public Schools

The speaker clearly spends a lot of time thinking about D.C. schools—so much that he revived a plan to give vouchers to about 1,100 kids so they could attend parochial school instead. Who better to step in to replace every Republican’s new favorite education official, Michelle Rhee?

* * *

New D.C. Councilmember: Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

Meet Your New D.C. Council: Congress!

How to Reach Him: (202) 224-6221

Agency: Taxicab Commission

Riding in cabs without meters had bothered Levin for years—and being in Congress meant he could just change the local laws. Levin’s budget rider in 2007 essentially ordered D.C. to dump the zone system it had been using, proving that meddling in District affairs isn’t just a GOP thing.

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Comments

  1. #1

    METERS?!!!!

    MAYBE SEN. LEVIN CAN OFFER UP A RIDER TO DEPORT TAXI DRIVERS AFTER THEY SPEND FIVE YEARS IN PRISON IF THEY DONT PICK UP A BROTHER AT FORT TOTTEN SUBWAY STATION WITHOUT POLICE INTERVENTION!

    **********************************************************

    ISSA IS A BAMMA! HE IS ALWAYS POSTURING. HE SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON CALI AND THE DIRE SITUATIONS THEY HAVE OUT THERE!

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    ANY WHITE MALE REPUBLICAN COMING FROM TEXAS WITHIN THE NEXT TEN YEARS IMMEDIATELY HAS THE DISTINCTION OF BEING ALIGNED WITH “W”.

    WAIT FOR IT . . . . . . . . “LOSERRR!”

    ALSO TELL HIM THAT THE CLOWN HAIR LOOK IS PASSE. MAYBE IF HE SOLD HIS GUNS HE CAN AFFORD SOME PLUGS OR A LIFELONE Rx OF ROGAINE. DUDE EITHER SHAVE IT OR COVER IT AND STOP USING YOUR GUNS TO PROVE YOUR MANHOOD.

    *********************************************************

    GOT TO GIVE IT UP TO CANTOR. I SOME HOW HAD THIS JOKER HOLDING IT DOWN FOR NO. VA.

    THIS MOFO IS ACTUALLY REPPIN ONE OF THE MOST REDNECKY, RACIALLY DIVISIVE PARTS OF VA. THEY MUST DON’T READ MUCH DOWN THERE BECAUSE IF THEY FOUND OUT THAT HE IS A JEW HIS ASS WOULD BE REPPIN NO. VA!

    *********************************************************

    BOEHNER. CLOWN EXTRAORDINAIRE AND TISSUE BOX HOARDER.

    HIS PARENTS MUST DIDN’T ALLOW HIM TO CRY AS A CHILD BECAUSE HIS ASS SURE IS MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME. FIGURE HIS ASS WOULD PICK ON DC BECAUSE WE CANT DEFEND OURSELVES.

    YO JOHN BOEHNER MAN UP AND STOP PICKING ON WDC. GO PICK A FIGHT WITH BIG TOBACCO, WALL STREET AND THE REST OF THOSE MONEY GRUBBING COORPORATIONS THAT IS BANKRUPTING THIS COUNTRY!

  2. #2

    Holy shit, I agree with noodlez. Nice bit about the cabbies!

  3. #3

    It was great to see Mayor Gray and other officeholders rally and get arrested in protest of GOP agenda (school voucher program, prohibition on spending for abortion) about to be forced down our throats, but the District's lack of democratic autonomy is as much the fault of Democrats as Republicans.

    For the past decade, Democratic worthies have promoted Del. Norton's DC "voting rights" bill, which would have granted a single voting seat in the US House without abolishing the federal government's power to impose unwanted laws on DC and veto locally passed legislation. The focus on the voting rights bill led the Democratic Party to delete support for DC statehood from its platform in 2004 and 2008.

    After the 2008 election, President Obama and Democrats in Congress refused to act on their ability to grant statehood, even though the result would very likely have been a new Democratic vote in the House and two new Dem votes in the Senate. The claim that statehood would require a constitutional amendment, with ratification by two thirds of the states, is as false as the idea that voting representation in a national legislature equals democracy.

    We could gain statehood through a simple-majority vote (51%) in Congress to shrink the borders of the constitutionally mandated federal enclave to include only federal properties (White House, Capitol, Mall, etc.). Congress's 1846 act transferring Arlington from the District to Virginia provides the legal precedent. The remaining territory could be then be admitted to the Union as the 51st state, again by simple-majority vote in Congress, just as all other states were admitted after the initial thirteen colonies.

    Local statehood advocates like the DC Statehood Green Party, Stand Up! for Democracy in DC coalition, and DC Statehood - Yes We Can! have kept alive the drumbeat for genuine self-government. The biggest obstacles to DC democracy are Republican politicians' contempt for our rights and the tendency of Democrats to march into battle armed with capitulations and compromises.

    Until we win statehood, the District will become a "laboratory experiment" (Newt Gingrich's words) for GOP ideas whenever Republicans take control of Congress.

  4. #4

    A modest correction to Mr. Sherwood's article: The organizations protesting in front of the Massachusetts Avenue on Tax Day (see the photo under the article) are advocates of DC statehood, not just DC voting rights. Winning a vote in Congress won't alter the power of Congress and the White House to impose laws and policies on the District and veto locally passed legislation.

    A voting seat in a national legislature has never been a guarantee of democracy and human rights, as the examples numerous colonies in the Americas, Africa, and Asia demonstrate, before they achieved independence from European empires that ruled them. Patrick Henry didn't say "Give me a voting seat in Parliament or give me death."

    For a little more explanation, here's a comment I posted recently under a Washington City Paper article (http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2011/04/14/meet-your-new-d-c-council-congress):

    It was great to see Mayor Gray and other officeholders rally and get arrested in protest of GOP agenda (school voucher program, prohibition on spending for abortion) about to be forced down our throats, but the District's lack of democratic autonomy is as much the fault of Democrats as Republicans.

    For the past decade, Democratic worthies have promoted Del. Norton's DC "voting rights" bill, which would have granted a single voting seat in the US House without abolishing the federal government's power to impose unwanted laws on DC and veto locally passed legislation. The focus on the voting rights bill led the Democratic Party to delete support for DC statehood from its platform in 2004 and 2008.

    After the 2008 election, President Obama and Democrats in Congress refused to act on their ability to grant statehood, even though the result would very likely have been a new Democratic vote in the House and two new Dem votes in the Senate. The claim that statehood would require a constitutional amendment, with ratification by two thirds of the states, is as false as the idea that voting representation in a national legislature equals democracy.

    We could gain statehood through a simple-majority vote (51%) in Congress to shrink the borders of the constitutionally mandated federal enclave to include only federal properties (White House, Capitol, Mall, etc.). Congress's 1846 act transferring Arlington from the District to Virginia provides the legal precedent. The remaining territory could be then be admitted to the Union as the 51st state, again by simple-majority vote in Congress, just as all other states were admitted after the initial thirteen colonies.

    Local statehood advocates like the DC Statehood Green Party, Stand Up! for Democracy in DC coalition, and DC Statehood - Yes We Can! have kept alive the drumbeat for genuine self-government. The biggest obstacles to DC democracy are Republican politicians' contempt for our rights and the tendency of Democrats to march into battle armed with capitulations and compromises.

    Until we win statehood, the District will become a "laboratory experiment" (Newt Gingrich's words) for GOP ideas whenever Republicans take control of Congress.

    Scott McLarty
    DC Statehood Green Party (http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org)
    Green Party of the United States (http://www.gp.org)

  5. #5

    Note to moderator: please delete that latest submission from me on April 21, which wasn't meant for the City Paper

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