Norton Secures Major Victories for D.C. in Biden Budget, Disappointed With Marijuana Rider
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said that President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget, released today, has many important victories for the District of Columbia that she requested, including $40 million for the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant program (DCTAG), which a Norton bill created, and an increase in the DCTAG annual and lifetime grants. However, she said she was disappointed that the budget maintains the rider that prohibits D.C. from spending its local funds on recreational marijuana commercialization, which more than a dozen states have done.
“I appreciate that the Biden administration recognizes the importance of the DCTAG program for D.C. students and families and has proposed the first increase in the annual and lifetime grants since the program was created by my bill in 1999,” Norton said. “The cost of college has increased dramatically but the grants have not kept pace. I am also very pleased the budget removes the rider that prohibits D.C. from spending its local funds on abortion and winds down the failed D.C. private school voucher program. However, I am having a hard time reconciling the administration’s strong support for D.C. statehood, which would give D.C. not only voting representation in Congress but also full local self-government, with a budget that prohibits D.C. from spending its local funds on recreational marijuana commercialization. With Democrats controlling the White House, House and Senate, we have the best opportunity in over a decade to enact a D.C. appropriations bill that does not contain any anti-home-rule riders.”
Norton secured the following victories:
- $40 million for DCTAG, an increase in the annual grant from $10,000 to $15,000 and an increase in the lifetime grant from $50,000 to $75,000. DCTAG makes up the difference for D.C. residents between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public institutions of higher education in the United States.
- Expresses the administration’s intent to phase out the federally created and funded D.C. private school voucher program but to allow currently enrolled students to remain in the program. The program has failed to increase academic achievement, as measured by reading and math test scores.
- $5 million for HIV/AIDS testing, treatment and prevention in D.C.
- $8 million for DC Water.
- $253 million for the General Services Administration for the Department of Homeland Security headquarters consolidation project at the St. Elizabeths West Campus. The Department of Homeland Security funding for the consolidation is not apparent in the budget.
- $600,000 for the Major General David F. Wherley, Jr. District of Columbia National Guard Retention and College Access Program.
- Allows the District to spend its local funds during a federal government shutdown.
- $150 million for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for capital improvements.