Loose Lips

EHN v. D.C. Council

Today, all 12 members of the D.C. Council signaled their support for a voter referendum that would amend the Home Rule Charter and give the District control of its budget without having to get approval from Congress.

The city's attorney general says the effort probably isn't legal, but hey, why the hell not try? Even with high-profile Republican support, Congress has been unable to grant the District budget autonomy without some some socially conservative poison pill killing the effort.

So what does Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has not been shy about telling Congress to "go straight to hell" in the past, think of the council's cheeky initiative? Not much:

After being informed of the proposed Charter amendment and investigating it, we briefed the Mayor and Council Chairman on the legal and institutional issues and risks of a referendum that would allow the city to give itself budget autonomy.  In light of these issues and increasing Republican and Democratic support for budget autonomy, we will continue to work with our allies in the House and Senate to pass a budget autonomy bill.

In other words: stay off my turf.

Photo by Darrow Montogmery

  • And . . .

    Zzzzzzz - any other legitimate DC policy news?

  • http://Now,now Constantly Surprised

    It was a creative idea by Chairman Phil Mendelsohn. Maybe it's a "back door" way to get what we can't get through the "front door". So as a gambit it has attractions. It's not HOMERULE -- but it does have a logic that is somewhat less challenging to the notion of oversight of the National Capitol by Congress and the President.

    Having said that, Norton and the Attorney General are probably right to believe that it wouldn't really get us there politically or legally.

    I think your suggestion that her comment is "turf" related is overstated -- but it's a slow Tuesday, isn't it Alan?

  • TM

    She's just afraid it'll actually work and prove her uselessness.

  • Jack

    In the context of Norton's support for DC statehood, I never pictured the Delegate as a proponent of the Rule of Law - in this case, the Constitution.

    The District of Columbia is not a state. Get over it.

    It's a Federal city, and as such, answers to the Representatives of the nation's taxpayers - not simply those who live in it.

  • Bloomie

    Dont think it will go far after Congress puts on the brakes but at least it keeps the conversation of DC's disenfranchisement going.

  • Joanie

    Hey Jack,

    I'm a DC resident. I pay Federal and local taxes. Our citizens fight in wars. Our citizens join the National Guard. Essentially, we have all the obligations of citizenry, and none of the rights.

    I have no say in Federal law. A Senator from Kentucky (who we did not elect) recently blocked a bill that would give DC autonomy over LOCAL tax dollars, unless we would submit to new rules and bureaucracy on abortion, guns, and unions. That a person we did not elect can impose his will on 600,000 US citizens who pay taxes but have no representation is the definition of tyranny.

    And re: the Constitution: It does not say DC can't vote. It provides for a federal district no larger than 10 miles squared. That definition of "federal district" has been changed over time. Some of what used to be the fed district is now in Virginia, and those people can vote. Also, DC residents used to be able to vote when this country was founded (until Congress disenfranchised us). And seriously, I doubt our Founding Fathers, who thought the government should be controlled by the "consent of the governed" would want 600,000 tax paying citizens to be denied the right to representative government in our nation's capital.

    In short: Preventing DC from having statehood is not about our shining democracy; it is about oppression. Period.


  • el perro de San Juan

    Rep. Norton doesn't support DC Statehood. She's been very vocal about that. She supports expanding DC's rights to include a voting Member, but that's different than full on statehood.

    Whether or not her prior proposal to give DC a voting member is constitutional or not is a different story.

    I'm cool with us remaining a "territory," but if this is the case, I want my federal taxes back. Residents of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Micronesia get budget autonomy, have about the same rights, yet pay no federal taxes. If we're not going to have a voice, give us back our money!

  • Typical DC BS

    Give DC back to Maryland. End of story. That's where DC started out (VA part was given back long ago).