Loose Lips

D.C. Council Can’t Decide How to Spend Extra Cash

Who should come first in the D.C. government's list of priorities? Welfare recipients, city workers, undocumented immigrants, or out-of-state municipal bond holders?

Alas, the D.C. Council can't decide. This afternoon, they voted themselves to a 6-6 deadlock on Mayor Vince Gray's supplemental budget for the current fiscal year that would have spent $22 million reimbursing city workers for four furlough days.

Prior to the vote, the councilmembers took turns accusing each other of having misplaced priorities.

Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry and At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange took Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans to task for caring too much about mostly wealthy District residents instead of city employees. They were referring to the numerous residents, who tend to be well off, who are upset that the city has started taxing dividends paid on out-of-state municipal bonds.

Evans tried unsuccessfully to tie a new sales tax on food trucks to an effort to abolish the muni bond tax. He also took great offense at Barry and Orange's suggestion that he catered to the rich over hard workin' city employees, saying he loves both children equally. (Not his actual words) In the end, Evans voted for the $22 million payout to city employees while Barry, for some reason as yet unknown to LL, did not.

At-Large Councilmember David Catania accused his colleagues of being members of the Tea Party for their refusal to go along with a compromise plan that would have reimbursed city employees for two furlough days while also funding health care for undocumented immigrants in D.C.

"I didn't expect the Tea Party to come to Washington," Catania said. "Frankly, I'm ashamed."

And Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham told everyone to think of the children, as he has done several times in the past, before trying to get his colleagues to vote on shifting nearly $6 million of the furlough money for increased spending for welfare programs. Graham got a total of one vote, his own, for the effort.

The bigger story that's still getting unpacked right now is the mayor's inability to get seven votes on budget supplemental, something that shouldn't be so hard given that we're talking about spending extra money here, not making cuts.

Calculator photo by Shutterstock.com

  • InTheMixx

    Wow, I actually agree with Catania. Going in there was a compromise on the table. I believe it was proposed by Michael Brown. They are acting like the Tea Party except the tea party has direction.

  • Black Omega

    Why are they funding money for illegal aliens to get healthcare? This is typical liberal bullshit protecting illegal aliens in the District.

  • Wrack

    ...because if they don't fund illegal aliens' healthcare, the hospitals still have to pay for the illegal aliens' emergency care, meaning that when Mr. Alien shows up at the hospital with a fever and a headache, the hospital has to divert doctors from true emergencies to care for Mr. Alien's case of the flu instead of getting him checked out by a family doctor who's actually there to provide that kind of primary care.

    And the District can't afford a "round-them-up-and-kick-them-out" enforcement campaign against illegal aliens, and neither can the people who own/manage/patronize our local restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. Because if you push illegal aliens out, you lose your cheap labor force, and suddenly everything costs a lot more.

    That's why.

    Oh, and compassion for our fellow human beings or whatever. That too. But really there are excellent economic arguments.

  • Wrack

    P.S., to LL: The Mayor needs 8 votes for an emergency, not 7.

  • NE John

    These assholes whould give our money back. That's right, ASSHOLES! You MF's never worked a day ion your lives.

  • Throw The Book

    Evans only works in favor of the rich. Of course because he steals the councils money on top of working as an outside consultant.

    He deserves to get smacked!

  • InTheMixx

    This Council is in turmoil. That Barry voted AGAINST a measure that would restore unwarranted wage loss to city employees and Evans SUPPORTED the measure just goes to show you how bad it has really become.

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com southeast lady

    is council man Marion Barry eligible for retirement?
    Ret now!

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com southeast lady

    I am so disappointed in Mayor Gray I don't know what to do with myself. Fool that I am for thinking he would be different. He is as corrupt as the rest of them. Hope springs forever from the human breast.

    Oh deal what should I do

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com southeast lady

    I am so disapointed in Kwame Brown I don't know what to do. Oh dear, hope springs forever from the human breast.

    What to do, what to do.

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com southeast lady

    what is a Jim Graham. I will explore.

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com southeast lady

    let's put a chicken in every pot.

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com southeast lady

    I looked at the "Animal Farm" approach and wound up with the Animal Farm approach being just what it was----Once in charge I wound up with the same situation.

  • Ward 5

    We need a DC general hospital. I have issues with paying for illegal immigrants but they are here. Providence Hospital services have gone down the drain...I live close and won't go there.

    How many is Sibley and GTown seeing?

    This council is a joke...with little respect

  • SWag

    I need my furlough money back... I work way too damn hard for that type of a silly stunt. You wanna show a surplus like we actually achieved something productive... cool. Just don't do it on the back of your employees. Horrible business model. Pay us back first THEN sort out the other bits. I bet they are not struggling to eat with their easy ass jobs, while those of us down here doing the grunt work are starving!

  • Ward 4 Voter

    Catania have lost his mind! I don't support $5 million D.C. tax dollars going towards paying for healthcare for illegal aliens. What about U.S. citizens in D.C. without healthcare?

    Illegal aliens deserve a one way ticket out of D.C. back to El Salvador, Mexico, and other Central American countries, where they came from. I have no pity or a bleeding heart for illegals.

    Wrack, yes we are all human beings. However, it's not the responsibility for the United States to be the welfare country of the world. I didn't vote for any of these assholes April 3rd, 2012 at the polls. I wrote in on the ballot, 'NONE OF THE ABOVE'. It's time for a federal 'Control Board' to over see D.C. affairs.

    Democrats are looking for cheap votes from illegal alien Hispanics and Repubilcans are looking for cheap labor from illegal alien Hispanics. We the citizenry are screwed in this country.

    16th Street Heights
    Ward 4 Resident/Voter/Taxpayer

  • Ward 4 Voter

    @Ward 5, because illegal aliens are here, this doesn't mean they deserve from healthcare at the expense of D.C. taxpayers. Travel to El Salvador and Mexico as a black U.S. citizen and try living there illegallly. I can assure you, the countries of El Salvador and Mexico will deport your black behind because El Salvador and Mexico have a low tolerance for blacks. If you are white like the Romney family, you can go live in Mexico. I never voted for David Catania and I never will. I dislike Catania. Catania calling people names like the Tea Party, if fact, Catania was a former Republican turned Independent. He would have still remained a Republican, but former President George Bush was against gay marriage and Catania got mad and switched to an Independent.

  • Ward 4 Voter


    @Ward 5, because illegal aliens are here, this doesn't mean they deserve 'FREE' healthcare at the expense of D.C. taxpayers.

  • Keith B.

    Yeah, the DC dem party needs all those votes from illegals. They are really worried about a resurgent DC GOP. I mean last time I voted at MLK library I lost count of the number of people who looked like they couldn't speak english.

  • Keith B.


  • PepperDr

    I too found the fact that any priority at all was given to illegal aliens over taxpaying DC workers to be an insult.

    DC workers made sacrifices like everyone else. Thousands of DC employees were laid off in the past few years and pay raises have been non existent for at least 3 years. Maybe you missed the lawsuits by the teachers union on behalf of the hundreds of teachers fired by Michelle Rhee, supposedly for budgetary reasons. The Office of Employee Appeals was overwhelmed by hundreds of grievances filed by RIF'd DC employees. For someone who claims to have lived in DC for three decades, you sure have a short memory.

  • PepperDr

    Health care for illegals!!!! Are these people sane? They will support illegals and thier anchor babies with healthcareand public housing but will not pay public service employees !! This is an insult to all legal residents .

  • Keith B.

    What the /fuck/ does black people living in El Salvador have to do with the DC budget? Take a deep breath and make some good arguments for a change, will you?

  • GJ

    Oh yet again David Catania has fucked something up. He has cost the city millions in medicade reinbursments. Is trying to raid the pension system of Teachers, Police and Firefighters. Now this. He is the worst of the worst. He could give a shit less about anything but his own agenda. Fuck him and Che, Graham, and Mendelson. Barry may be a screw up but I have more faith in him than all of them together

  • Drez

    Well put, Wrack.