Norton Responds to Press Reports About Possibility of D.C. Riders in Upcoming Spending Bill

Dec 4, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to press inquiries and reports, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that she is working around the clock to protect the District of Columbia’s right to home rule in the fiscal year 2015 omnibus spending bill, expected to be released on Monday.  The House’s version of the fiscal year 2015 D.C. appropriations bill contains three anti-home-rule riders – one from Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) to prohibit the District from using its local funds to decriminalize or legalize small amounts of marijuana, one from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) to prohibit the city from using its local funds to enforce its ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and other gun laws, and one that is regularly attached to the D.C. appropriations bill to prohibit the city from spending its local funds on abortion services for low-income women. 

Norton said that she is involved in conversations with House and Senate leaders and the White House, asking that they hold fast against Republican efforts to carry House interference with D.C. home rule into the final bill.

Norton said that it was critical to defeat Rep. Harris’ marijuana rider considering the racial justice impetus for D.C.’s marijuana policies, following two recent studies that show that almost all marijuana-related arrests in D.C. are of Black residents, even though Blacks and Whites use marijuana at the same rate.  Twenty-three states have legalized medical marijuana, 18 states have decriminalized marijuana, and four states have legalized marijuana.  A February 2014 Pew Research Center poll found that 54% of Americans support marijuana legalization. 

Norton also said that when the Secret Service has had difficulty protecting the White House from gun fire, the Massie gun amendment should be a non-starter.  Eliminating the District’s assault weapons ban and allowing magazines of unlimited capacity would endanger the First Family, federal officials, and countless world leaders and dignitaries that visit D.C. each year, as well as D.C. residents.