Norton Secures Funding for DCTAG and Other Priorities in Republican Senate D.C. Appropriations Bill
Norton Will Fight to Remove Two Anti-D.C. Riders
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) was successful in getting the Republican-led Senate Appropriations Committee to provide in its fiscal year 2019 District of Columbia Appropriations bill $30 million for the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program (DCTAG), a significant victory after President Trump zeroed out funding for DCTAG is his fiscal year 2019 budget, as well as funding for her other priorities. Norton will try to restore DCTAG funding to the full $40 million amount she secured in the last three enacted omnibus appropriations bills. Norton said she was disappointed that the Senate bill contained two anti-D.C. riders—prohibiting D.C. from spending its local funds on abortion and recreational marijuana commercialization—the first time anti-D.C. riders have been included in the Senate D.C. appropriations bill since Republicans took control of the Senate in 2014. The abortion and marijuana riders were included in the enacted fiscal year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill. The Senate bill does not contain the three other anti-D.C. riders that were in the House Appropriations Committee-passed fiscal year 2019 D.C. Appropriations bill: repealing D.C.’s medical aid-in-dying law, the Death with Dignity Act (DWDA), repealing D.C.’s budget autonomy referendum and blocking D.C. from carrying out a local D.C. anti-discrimination law, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA). Norton kept the DWDA, budget autonomy and RHNDA riders out of the enacted fiscal year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill.
“Securing funding for DCTAG was my top priority given the dramatic cuts proposed by the Trump administration,” Norton said. “Senate appropriators recognized the program’s significant success in increasing college attendance here and the impossibility of abandoning thousands of D.C. students who are currently enrolled in colleges across the country. I am disappointed that the Committee chose to depart from their past practice of not including anti-D.C. riders. I will be fighting here in the House and Senate to strike all anti-D.C. riders and prevent any new riders from being included in the final spending bill.”
Norton said that the Senate bill again ignores the Local Budget Autonomy Act of 2012 (BAA), the referendum overwhelmingly passed in 2013 by D.C. voters that granted the District budget autonomy, by appropriating D.C.’s local funds for fiscal year 2019. However, she is pleased that the Senate bill does not repeal the BAA.
Norton said that the Senate bill provides $10 million for the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water), critical funding Norton has secured annually for ongoing work to clean up the Anacostia and Potomac rivers and Rock Creek and control flooding in the District. The House Appropriations Committee-passed fiscal year 2019 D.C. Appropriations bill did not provide any funding for DC Water.
Norton said the bill also contains her provision to exempt D.C. from a shutdown in fiscal year 2020; $435,000 for the Major General David F. Wherley, Jr. District of Columbia National Guard Retention and College Access Program, which provides tuition assistance for D.C. National Guard members, the same amount as the fiscal year 2018 enacted level; and $2 million to combat HIV/AIDS in D.C., a $3 million decrease from the fiscal year 2018 enacted level, but she believes she can get this funding restored in the final spending bill.