Loose Lips

Vince Gray: Bring Me Obama!

The federal shutdown has had an unusually small impact on the District's local government, thanks to Mayor Vince Gray's decision to fund operations out of city's $144 million rainy day fund. The city has even been filling in for the feds in some places, but the fund's starting to run out. In a letter to President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Gray says he wants to meet with each of them to talk about the shutdown.

"I request an immediate meeting with each of you to explain why Congress must pass, and the President must sign, emergency legislation exempting the District from the federal government shutdown," Gray writes in his letter, which is embedded below.

Of course, the House has already passed legislation to appropriate money for the District, only to see it blocked by Senate Democrats, an unusual role reversal on District autonomy that puts Gray, a Democrat, in an awkward position. Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, wouldn't rule out a mayoral meeting with Gray, but suggested his time would be better spent elsewhere.

"I think Mayor Gray ought to concentrate on getting Sen. Reid to pass it and President Obama to sign it," Steel writes in an email.

Still, Gray writes that he's looking forward to meeting with all three men, especially since the contingency fund is getting closer to running out. Just when the money will stop isn't clear, even as the District puts some payments on hold. Mayoral spokesman Pedro Ribeiro tells LL that the funds should keep the District afloat for at least another week-and-a-half.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Akwarder

    So wait Gray stole 144 million from tax payers?

  • D-uh

    This is why is was always a bad idea to declare all DC employees essential before you know how long the shut down will last.
    (I'm amazed so many seemingly smart people were applauding that idea.)
    The mayor should have been more careful and made sure we stretched the funds out for as long as possible instead of trying to make a political point.
    In DC we are dealt a bad hand, yes. But the mayor took a bad hand and played it poorly.

  • Over Eleanor

    Well Gray is serving his constituents that is for sure, those who still consider the DC government a jobs program for the self entitled. The idiotic grin says it all.

    I guess the bright side is the fact that Gray could run through the fund in a week might wake people up to how quickly these buffoons could take us back to the Control Board. What happens now Vinnie beyond your hissy fit letter which I'm sure both the President and the Speaker will never see.

  • Over Eleanor

    Actually reading Gray's letter makes it clear Gray is an idiot. First he reminds them he essentially told them to go scre* themselves, then he makes demands ("and the President must sign" so sayeth Vinnie); and then he launches into a lengthy, desperate, plea that they rescue us (mostly him) from the consequences of his own pi** poor judgment.

    at is plan B Vinnie beyond dumping this back in Jack Evan's lap via the Council Finance Committee? Perhaps you could demand Pope Francis pray for and God deliver a "shadow" rainy day fund.

    I am now more apt to believe Vinnie did authorize gutting his campaign field budget. He is quite possibly that stupid.

  • drez

    If "all services provided by the District of Columbia" are essential, than why have contractors who provide those services been told not to show up for work?

  • Typical DC BS

    Ho hum, just more of the typical DC mindset on display among it's dumbass elected officials. Rant about statehood, make dumb decisions, then whine and stamp feet like a petulant child when the federal cheese isn't forthcoming. Gee, who'd a thunk it.

    Now all we need is for Eleanor Holmes Norton to bloviate more nonsense about the REDSKINS name (even though the team plays in Maryland and practices in Virginia) to hit the perfecta today.

  • T

    @Typical DC BS

    "Federal cheese"? The issue here is that DC is prohibited from spending its OWN LOCALLY RAISED FUNDS. Gray is right to be angry about this, and all DC residents should be as well.

  • John

    Gray still sounds arrogant and this is all about his ego. Not every job in this city is essential and he never should have wasted the rainy day fund which will soon run out. Only truly essential staff should have been at work. I am sure the president has more to worry about than DC. Gray is about to look like the idiot he is with no money and shutting down the government.

  • ward4forever

    The Mayor is demanding a meeting with the leader of the Free World? Gray is losinghis marbles.

  • southeast lady

    I am laughing at the craziness that is going on at both the federal and local governments> Perhaps I am laughing to keep from crying. But, I am laughing.

    I have been retired for 12 years now and I should not have to worry whether my federal pension check is going to come to me or not>

    The democrats are just as bad as the republicans. We need to throw the bums out all of them.

  • DCShadyBoots

    Here's the tea. Most of you who complain about the Mayor also complain about not having city services when your favorite pet project goes amiss. Make your damn minds up.

    The Mayor is doing all that he can to assure the continuity of operations of the city government that serves even you ungrateful retards.

  • Corky

    I suppose you fools would have preferred that the Mayor had shut down the city last week? Think about how high your garbage pile would be by now. And the smell and rats. Some of you idiots need to get over the fact that your boy lost and accept the fact that he is the mayor and that he is doing the best he can for DC in light of the ridiculous situation that Congress has put the entire nation in.

  • Ward-8

    Gray miscalculated the Tpublicans and know he is making demands on the President and the Congress, this from someone who's influence do not extend beyond the District Building and what makes him think that Republicans who are currently ignoring the advise of the President of the US will jump through hoops for him except to use him as another convenient prop and talking point to distract from their true agenda of attempting to destroy the President and if that mean destroying the Country in the process, so be it. What Gray need to do is take his buns back to the District Building and furlough non-essential personal like the Federal Government.

  • Typical DC BS

    @T: Sorry reality is beyond your comprehension. Acting like children really isn't working too well for the District, is it?

  • SEis4ME

    You gotta marvel at the ignorance of so many WCP readers essentially "CHEERING" over the idea that DC continues to get shafted. Their Tea Party logic prevents them from looking at any subject through a less partisan lens.

    Close the city and garbage doesn't get delivered. Blame Gray for not tapping our reserves.

    Tap the reserves and confronts Congress because the shyt has hit the fan. Blame Gray for tapping our reserves.

    Yes, the WCP is full of utter idiots. 100% like the Tea Partiers, who cares about governance when you have a silly point to make.

  • Typical DC BS

    The Tea Partiers have more fiscal sense than the vast majority of DC residents. The ONLY reason DC is in a halfway decent fiscal position is because CONGRESS forced it to stop doing things the Dumocratic way - spend foolishly and then wonder how to pay for things. Remember the control board? Remember the reason for it? Obviously not, since most mopes in DC can't seem to get it through their thick skulls that the federal government borrows 36 cents for EVERY dollar it spends. That can't go on much longer before we become like Greece.