Congresswoman Norton works on the issues that matter most to Washington, D.C. residents. Read about her efforts and accomplishments as she takes major steps to ensure that the District enjoys budget automony, fair treatment, and safe, beautiful environs.
- Norton Ready for Two Posts of Major Importance to the District of Columbia
- Progress in Making D.C. Equal and Self-Governing
- Significant Public Safety Measures Achieved
- Getting Equal Treatment and Insisting on Basic Fairness
- Fighting for Federal Employees and Low-Wage Federal Contract Workers
- Norton in the Neighborhoods
- Bringing Federal Parks and Outdoor Areas in D.C. to Their Full Potential
Gains for D.C. in 2013, despite the dismal 113th Congress, have boosted the optimism of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for 2014. This year was a low point for the administration and the Congress, with only 72 bills expected to be signed into law this session, making the 113th Congress the most ineffective in the nation’s history, according to congressional data. Nevertheless, Norton continued to make tangible progress for the District of Columbia in the Tea Party-controlled House of Representatives, which was responsible for most of the obstruction, by finding Republican allies and working with Senate Democrats. Most members, particularly of the minority party, at best, co-sponsor bills, but of the 72 bills passed by both the House and the Senate and expected to be signed into law, three were sponsored by Norton, with a fourth on which she took the lead. This legislation was vital to the District – a bill to allow the District to immediately fill a vacancy of its Chief Financial Officer (CFO); a bill to allow the District to increase the salary of the CFO, which was necessary to recruit and retain appropriate candidates for this unique and powerful position; a bill to name the new U.S. Coast Guard headquarters; and, the fourth bill, to reauthorize the U.S. Parole Commission (USPC) for five years, its longest authorization period yet, a matter of great importance to the District because the USPC has jurisdiction over D.C. Code felons.
Norton was unanimously elected by Democrats on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as Ranking Member of the Committee’s Highways and Transit Subcommittee, the largest and most important of its subcommittees. The Subcommittee is responsible for policy and for the billions of dollars that fund the nation’s highways, bridges and transit, including Metro.
In the most important breakthrough for home rule of the year, following the federal government shutdown, Norton’s efforts and negotiations will keep the District government open all of fiscal year 2014 and funded at fiscal year 2014 levels, while the federal government is operating at fiscal year 2013 levels and only until January 15. This was a breakthrough year for budget autonomy. Norton not only protected the city’s budget autonomy referendum from congressional interference, but she secured language from the president for budget autonomy in his fiscal year 2014 budget and got budget autonomy included in the pending Senate Appropriations Committee-passed fiscal year 2014 D.C. Appropriations bill. Although House Republicans again introduced bills to violate the city’s home rule, Norton fought all of them off and, instead, expanded and strengthened D.C.’s self-governance. She also got D.C. significant new equal treatment with the states and won new support for D.C. statehood.
Norton continued strong work in committee, maintaining her seniority on the Economic Development Subcommittee and moving important economic development projects to fruition. She maintained presidential support for D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant program, even persuading the president to include a $5 million increase in funding for the program in fiscal year 2014, as well as for funding for the continued construction of the Department of Homeland Security headquarters complex at the St. Elizabeths West Campus in Ward 8 and for the East Campus, owned by the District. Norton made noteworthy advances in public safety this year, and led the effort that eliminated exorbitant phone rates for prisoners and their families.