WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that she protected $30 million for the District of Columbia Tuition Assistance Grant Program (DCTAG) in the House’s draft fiscal year (FY) 2019 District of Columbia Appropriations bill, released today, even after President Trump zeroed out funding for DCTAG in his FY 19 budget. Norton got House appropriators, who have tried to make even bigger cuts to DCTAG in the past, to recognize DCTAG’s tremendous success and how important it is to D.C. families and students. The House-passed FY 18 D.C. appropriations bill similarly provided $30 million for DCTAG, but Norton ultimately secured $40 million in the enacted FY 18 omnibus appropriations bill, as she did in FY 16 and FY 17. The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up the bill tomorrow, Thursday, May 24, 2018, at 10:00 a.m., in HT-2 (U.S. Capitol).
The bill contains the five anti-home-rule riders that were included in the House-passed FY 18 D.C. appropriations bill, but Norton expects to get most of them out of the final spending bill: repeals the Death with Dignity Act (DWDA); prohibits D.C. from spending its local funds to carry out the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act; repeals the Local Budget Autonomy Act of 2012; prohibits D.C. from spending its local funds on recreational marijuana commercialization; and prohibits D.C. from spending its local funds on abortions for low-income women. In FY 18, the DWDA rider was added in the full committee markup by Representative Andy Harris (R-MD), and the RHNDA rider was added on the House floor by Representative Gary Palmer (R-AL). Norton kept the RHNDA, DWDA and budget autonomy riders from being included in the enacted FY 18 omnibus appropriations bill.
“With our students in colleges across the nation, protecting DCTAG funding is always my first priority, and I fully expect to get the full $40 million in the final spending bill,” Norton said. “Although Republicans are getting started early this year on attacking D.C.’s local laws, we got our home-rule coalition started even earlier in helping to stake out our defense. We expect to have the same success we had last year, working with the Senate, to remove most of these undemocratic riders.”
Norton said the bill also contains several of her D.C. priorities, including her provision to exempt D.C. from a shutdown for FY 20; $5 million to combat HIV/AIDS in D.C., the same amount as the FY 18 enacted level; and $435,000 for the Major General David F. Wherley, Jr. District of Columbia National Guard Retention and College Access Program, which provides tuition for D.C. National Guard soldiers, the same amount as the FY 18 enacted level.
Norton said she will fight to restore $14 million for the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) for ongoing work to control flooding in the city and clean up the Anacostia and Potomac rivers and Rock Creek, which was included in the enacted FY 18 omnibus appropriations bill, despite not being including in the House FY 18 D.C. appropriations bill.