Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Norton and Issa in Colloquy at Today’s Committee Meeting Pledge to Continue on Road to Budget Autonomy

Nov 17, 2011
Press Release

Norton and Issa in Colloquy at Today’s Committee Meeting Pledge to Continue on Road to Budget Autonomy

November 17, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – At the business meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) expressed her appreciation to Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and her intention to continue to work with him on his District of Columbia budget autonomy bill. Issa committed to working with Norton and the city until a bill that is acceptable becomes law.

In her remarks at the business meeting, Norton recounted what she described as “a civics lesson on committee work at its best,” beginning at a May hearing when Issa, after witnesses commended the District’s local finances and underscored the inefficiencies and added costs that result from Congress having to approve the city’s local budget, made the surprising announcement that he wanted to work on a bill that would give the District more budget autonomy. Norton said that the Issa bill came close to her own pending D.C. Budget Autonomy Act. However, the inclusion of an unprecedented permanent ban on the District’s use of its own funds on abortion services for the city’s most vulnerable women proved fatal. The problem, both Norton and Issa agreed, extended beyond the abortion rider because the bill was almost certain to draw a string of similar riders. Norton has already had a conversation with Issa about ways to prevent the bill from being burdened with multiple anti-home rule riders.

“I want to commend Chairman Issa not only for the bill that he proposed, but for the process he undertook to develop the legislation,” Norton said. “We started with an issue where both parties have had some disagreement, and through fruitful discussions, ended with a piece of legislation that is very close to a bill that D.C. can support.”

Both Norton and Issa agreed that they have come too far to give up on getting a final bill. Norton said that Issa’s bill is probably the best chance the District has for getting budget autonomy in the near future, and that the bill deserved the careful consideration that the city’s leaders gave it, rather than immediately rejected it because of their objections to the abortion rider.