Norton Gets Home-Rule Provision Included in Committee-Passed Presidential Pension Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s (D-DC) home-rule provision to change a 1958 law that treated the District of Columbia government as a part of the federal government, as it was then, was included in a bill passed today by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (OGR). Norton’s home-rule change was included in the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2017 to update a law that keeps former presidents and widows of former presidents from collecting pensions during any period in which they worked for either the federal or D.C. government. The law had not been updated to recognize D.C. as an independent jurisdiction with a locally elected government, which was established by the Home Rule Act of 1973. Last Congress, the same bill passed the House and Senate with Norton’s home-rule change, which she offered as an amendment when OGR marked it up, but it was vetoed by President Obama for reasons unrelated to the D.C. provision.
“I am grateful to Representative Jody Hice (R-GA) and Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) for their hard work on this legislation,” Norton said. “The 1958 law that would be updated is not only out of date, but one of its premises is almost unimaginable. It was designed to keep a president or his or her widow who had worked for the D.C. government from double dipping by collecting both a federal pension and salary from the D.C. government. However, D.C. is an independent jurisdiction that places its locally-raised funds in its own accounts, making the double dipping reason for that provision in the bill an anachronism. This small but significant change ensures that no legislation mischaracterizes the District of Columbia as a part of the federal government.”