Washington, DC – June 18, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) thanked DC Vote and a coalition of 41 national and local groups for urging Members of Congress in a letter today to respect the District of Columbia’s home rule during consideration of the fiscal year 2015 D.C. Appropriations bill, which will be marked up by the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in 2358-B Rayburn House Office Building. “Too many members of Congress are not concerned about the views of D.C. residents, even when they introduce legislation that affects only D.C. residents, because Members cannot be called to account by D.C. residents, whom they do not represent,” Norton said. “We are especially grateful to the constituents of our allies because Members have to take into account the views of their own constituents. The coalition represents millions of Americans who agree with my constituents on the city’s policies that are under attack in Congress — from marijuana decriminalization to gun safety to needle exchange to reproductive rights. Even Americans who disagree with D.C.’s policies nevertheless support the federalist principle of local control of local affairs, especially of local funds.”
In May, Norton held a “Save D.C. Home Rule” press conference on efforts to protect D.C. home rule during the fiscal year 2015 appropriations process. At the press conference, a letter was released informing Members that their constituents would be informed if they tried to interfere in D.C.’s local affairs. The letter was sent by NARAL Pro-Choice America, Human Rights Campaign, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, AIDS United and DC Vote.
The D.C. home-rule coalition has had incredible success in keeping the District’s appropriations bill clean of any new anti-home-rule riders. The only rider that remains on D.C.’s appropriations bill prohibits D.C. from spending its local funds on abortion for low-income women. Despite our recent successes, the District’s laws remain under attack. Stand-alone bills that attack D.C.’s home rule continue to be introduced, and with the help of our allies, we have stopped them, too. Thus far in the 113th Congress, there have been significant attacks on home rule.
The most recent attack on home rule was a bill introduced on May 30 by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) that undermines the labor rights of federal employees, and redefines the District government as part of the federal government to undermine the labor rights of District employees.
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) reintroduced a bill to make permanent law the annual abortion rider that prohibits the District from spending its local funds on abortion for low-income women, and redefine the D.C. government as part of the federal government for purposes of abortion.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) reintroduced his bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District, and filed an amendment that expressed the sense of the Senate that Congress should pass such a bill. Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) reintroduced his companion D.C. abortion ban bill, but has since expanded it to a nationwide ban.
Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) introduced a bill that would eliminate all of the District’s gun safety laws, making the District one of the most permissive gun jurisdictions in the country.
Representative Phil Gingrey (R-GA) introduced a stand-alone resolution expressing the sense of the House that active duty military personnel in D.C. should be exempt from D.C.’s gun laws. He successfully offered the bill as an amendment to the fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House.
A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Operations hearing singled out D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization bill – but none of the 18 states that have already decriminalized marijuana — which was immediately followed by an announcement by Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) that he is interested in introducing a disapproval resolution to overturn D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization bill.