Loose Lips Daily: Vouchers Are Back Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning sweet readers! It's round two with the DayQuil, so keep reading fast. News time:
Vouchers Are Back and There's Gonna Be Trouble: House Speaker John Boehner plans to stir up all kinds of trouble Wednesday, when he will introduce a bill that would bring back the District's school voucher program. You'll recall that two years ago Democrats in Congress successfully limited the program, which allows parents to receive vouchers of up to $7,500 for private school tuition, to current participants. The Post reports that Boehner says he's trying to reopen to the program to new participants in the spirit of bipartisanship. "If the president is sincere about working together on education reform, we should start by saving this successful, bipartisan program that has helped so many underprivileged children get a quality education," says Boehner, who the Post notes has a strong personal interest in the District's voucher program. On that bipartisan note, a majority of the council supported extending the voucher program, including Chairman Kwame Brown. On the other side of the coin is Mayor Vince Gray, who says, "These are decisions that should be made by the residents of the District of Columbia." There probably won't be much drama in Boehner getting his own bill past the House, so the real show will be in the Senate, where Sen. Joseph Lieberman will try to work his magic. Of note: Gray will be at tonight's State of the Union address, sitting in "Gallery 9," while Boehner has invited several pro-voucher folks, including Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, to attend as well. See Politico, too.
AFTER THE JUMP: Our Glorious Past; Cops Not Welfare; Don't Talk About the Budget Gap...
Our Glorious Past: City Desk has an awesome new feature, called "Today in D.C. History." Yesterday, we took a stroll down memory lane to 1993, when then-Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly refused to wash the District Buildings windows so that councilmembers could view President Bill Clinton's inaugural parade. The council and the mayor even went round for round in changing the building's locks to admit/keep out a window cleaning firm. Best line, from LL No. 1: "LL is not making this stuff up. This is the way your elected officials really behave when their egos are swollen." Man, that's a line that will never get old.
Also yesterday, we looked back to 1966, when a young and charismatic civil rights leader named Marion Barry organized a "mancott" of a 5-cent face increase on city buses. "Volunteers drove cars along Benning Road, picking up passengers at bus stops where people refused to use D.C. Transit buses. Barry also organized a bus to travel the route regularly and had people manning a phone line to inform callers of when and where they could find a ride." Lo and behold, the boycott worked and the fare increase did not come to pass. Such a promising future for that Barry guy—wonder what happened to him?
More Cops!: The Examiner's Harry Jaffe says the city needs to stop writing so many welfare checks and start paying cops more dough. CM Jack Evans agrees. "The costs of education and human services have increased every year ... Police haven't had a raise in five years. Enough is enough."
SHHH, It's a Budget Crisis: Bizarre line in the Times today as columnist Deborah Simmons tries to get councilmembers to comment on the news that the city's budget gap may be $600 million. "When asked by The Washington Times to comment on the $600 million figure, which was published Friday by the Washington Business Journal, several D.C. officials declined to speak on the record." Okay, weirdos. Not shy was budget hawk Evans, who gives an odd rational about why the District needs to cut spending and not raise taxes. "Neither Congress nor Wall Street is interested in us raising taxes. With [congressmen] Ron Paul and Rand Paul [who support lower taxes] taking leadership roles and Wall Street warning us about spending reserves, we have to fix the budget, cut expenditures and sell the hospital.” Look out D.C., it's the Paul family! LL did not realize Evans was such a fan of libertarians. Is a Jack Evans blimp next?
Practics Makes Perfect: WAMU's Patrick Madden reports that CM Michael A. Brown has been chatting with Redskins' owner Dan Snyder about building a practice facility for the 'Skins in the District. "'It just seems to me the training facility would have a nice opportunity for a home here in Washington, along with potentially a museum, a Redskins hall of fame, restaurants, which means jobs,' Brown says. He says, in a perfect world, he could see such a facility opening up in three to five years." Sure, the council might not want to spend public money on another stadium, after paying for the Nationals' new home, but this would be a museum, so it'd be educational.
Labor groups will meet with councilmembers Thursday to ask them to "make Walmart respect D.C."
WUSA9's Andrea McCarren wonders why the feds always leave so many lights on at night, and how much it costs. The answers: because the feds are lazy, and a lot.
The Examiner's Freeman Klopott explains why he thinks the special election is down to Sekou Biddle v. Pat Mara. Basic argument: Biddle has establishment's support and access to a lot of cash; Mara has the Republicans and some crossover appeal.
The Hoya notes that Georgetown University occasionally gives money to local pols.
Behold, the odd bunch that CM Mary Cheh follows on Twitter.
At-large candidate Josh Lopez and D.C. Vote's Ilir Zherka are on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt at 10 a.m.
Gray sked: 11 a.m. meeting with the "Buffet" foundation; 3:30 p.m. meeting with former mayor of Bogota, Colombia, 8 p.m. SOTU appearance.