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
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.
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New D.C. Councilmember: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
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.
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New D.C. Councilmember: Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
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.
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New D.C. Councilmember: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio
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?
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New D.C. Councilmember: Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.
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.