As D.C. Appropriations Bill Heads to House Floor, Norton Will Introduce Amendments to Remove Anti-Home-Rule Riders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said she was grateful to her allies on the House Appropriations Committee—Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee Ranking Member José Serrano (D-NY) and Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Barbara Lee (D-CA)—for offering amendments to remove anti-home-rule riders embedded in the fiscal year 2017 District of Columbia appropriations bill, which passed at today’s committee markup. She also thanked Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Mike Honda (D-CA) for speaking up for the District’s right to be free from congressional interference.

Ranking Member Serrano offered an amendment to strike the rider repealing the Local Budget Autonomy Act of 2012 (BAA), the referendum overwhelmingly passed in 2013 by D.C. voters to grant the District budget autonomy. The BAA is still the law of the land, and for the first time since passage of the Home Rule Act of 1973, the D.C. Council adopted the local portion of D.C.’s budget. The budget will soon be signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and will be submitted directly to Congress like any other D.C. law, rather than having the President submit the budget to Congress for approval. Two weeks ago, the House passed a stand-alone bill to repeal the BAA, but Norton said she believes there are not enough votes in the Senate to pass it. The Obama administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) stating that the president’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

Representatives Quigley and Lee introduced a joint amendment to strike the rider that bars D.C. from using its locally-raised funds on abortion services for low-income women. Norton said she will force roll call votes on the House floor to remove these anti-democratic riders, as well as the rider that bars D.C. from using its local funds to tax and regulate cannabis. Norton said she was very pleased that no new anti-home-rule riders were offered during the committee markup. At last year’s markup, the committee passed a rider blocking D.C. from using funds to enforce the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), which prohibits employers in D.C. from discriminating based on employees’ reproductive health decisions. Norton saved RHNDA from being overturned last year.

“I am deeply grateful to our allies on the Appropriations Committee who spoke out against the riders that trample on D.C.’s local autonomy, in direct contradiction to Republicans’ self-proclaimed principles of local control over locally-raised funds,” Norton said. “By being clear that we will never accept anti-home-rule riders, we have gotten most removed in the past, including the deadly rider that blocked D.C. from setting up a local needle exchange program. When this bill gets to the House floor, we begin the fight anew to remove the remaining riders. No Member will get a free pass on denying D.C. residents their right to spend locally-raised funds how they see fit.”

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