Norton Says the Constitution Does Not Allow Trump to Unilaterally Withhold Federal Funds from D.C.

Sep 3, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) released the following statement on President Trump’s memo on withholding federal funding from the District of Columbia.

“The President's memo that threatens to withhold funds from named cities, including the District of Columbia, if acted upon, would unconstitutionally usurp the spending power, which lies exclusively with Congress. The Framers understood that the power of the purse could undercut the functioning of democracy itself and therefore left funding with the people, through the Congress. Note that spending bills almost always originate in the House of Representatives.

“The President may be able to condition funding if Congress has given him the power to do so, and a circuit court recently held he may be able to withhold policing grants from sanctuary cities, though there is a circuit spilt on this matter . But his memo’s wholesale threat to withhold funds from cities is a violation of the Constitution's separation of powers, which gives the spending power exclusively to Congress.

“Trump is not a king. He is one of the actors in our separation of powers government. If Trump withholds funds from the District of Columbia, it will be immediately challenged, and I believe with success.”

 

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