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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

Places in Washington DC

Norton Condemns Bill Seeking to Roll Back a Major Portion of the D.C. Revitalization Act, Reimposing Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in New State Costs on the District

Jan 11, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) pledged to once again defeat a bill introduced today by Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA) that would roll back a critical component of the District of Columbia Revitalization Act and force the District to spend millions of dollars in new budgetary costs.  The bill would reduce the federal government’s share of the District’s Medicaid expenditures, known as the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP), from the current 70 percent to 54 percent.  Compounding the harm to the District, the federal government’s share of the District’s expenditures for several other joint federal-state programs, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program, is tied to the FMAP.

“This bill does not take into account the purpose of the Revitalization Act, which passed with bipartisan support and helped pull D.C. out of an economic crisis,” Norton said.  “Before the Revitalization Act, the District was the only local U.S. jurisdiction to pay for state functions, which nearly forced the city into bankruptcy.  Even with the Medicaid provision, D.C. pays a higher percentage of Medicaid than any U.S. city.  The bill is so out-of-touch that we were able to keep it from moving even when Republicans controlled the House.  I will work with my friends in the Democratic majority to ensure this bill once again goes nowhere.”

In response to the District’s financial crisis in the mid-1990s, Congress, with the District’s consent, passed the National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997, which transferred from the District to the federal government the costs and/or operations of several state functions, including prisons, courts and offender supervision.  The Revitalization Act statutorily set D.C.’s FMAP at 70 percent.  The District’s financial crisis was largely a result of the fact that the District was the only city responsible for paying for state functions, while the federal government imposed unique revenue limitations on the District.  All of the revenue limitations remain.

The FMAP formula is based on a state's per capita income relative to the national average, and the higher a state’s per capita income, the lower the FMAP.  The FMAP statutory minimum is 50 percent and the maximum is 83 percent.  If the District operated under the FMAP formula, as it did prior to the Revitalization Act, the federal government would pay only 50 percent of D.C.’s Medicaid expenditures.  Under the bill, beginning in fiscal year 2021, the federal government would pay the higher of the FMAP formula or a FMAP fixed percentage that decreases until it reaches 54 percent in 2028 and thereafter.

Under the bill, the FMAP fixed percentage would be: fiscal year 2021 is 68 percent; fiscal year 2022 is 66 percent; fiscal year 2023 is 64 percent; fiscal year 2024 is 62 percent; fiscal year 2025 is 60 percent; fiscal year 2026 is 58 percent; fiscal year 2027 is 56 percent; and fiscal year 2028 and each succeeding fiscal year is 54 percent.