Vince Gray: Congress’ Best Friend?
Despite the fact that most of the residents of the District support the school voucher program, Mayor Vince Gray says he opposes it on ideological grounds, because he's against any and all kinds of congressional meddling in local affairs.
Gray's also spent a few hours in jail advocating for the District's autonomy, and has made long made the District's lack of voting rights a key part of his stump speeches.
So it seems a little weird to LL that Gray's talking points in defense of his role in overseeing the D.C. Council's approval of a first-of-its-kind online gambling law includes the fact that Congress had a 30-day review period (which actually took several months because calendar days and legislative days are different!) to undo the law, but did nothing.
When asked about the lack of any public hearing prior to the council voting in December (when Gray was council chairman) to approve Councilmember Michael A. Brown's onling gambling proposal that was tacked onto a supplement budget bill, Gray told Bruce DePuyt last week that Brown's proposal got the normal scrutiny all District laws get, including congressional review.
"It had the appropriate proper public airing and scrutiny as it went forward to be an authorized program," Gray told DePuyt. He made a similar argument about Congress reviewing Brown's gambling bill at his news conference today (or at least LL is pretty sure he thought he heard Gray make a similar argument—LL was babysitting, and LL's bean was crying at that point of the presser).
Pointing to Congress' mandated review of the District's legislation as some sort of legitimizing process for Brown's gambling bill seems a bit disingenuous of Gray. As the Post editorial board's reporting suggests, Brown appears to have deliberately chosen the path of least public scrutiny for his gambling bill, and Gray let him do it. So to then say that Congress' apathy towards Brown's proposal is proof the process was legitimate seems a bit phony, especially coming from a mayor who doesn't think Congress ought to have a say in the first place.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery