Norton Secures Major Victories in Senate D.C. Appropriations Bill

Oct 19, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced the victories she secured in the Senate’s fiscal year (FY) 2022 District of Columbia Appropriations bill, which was released yesterday. The bill includes three of Norton’s top priorities: $40 million for the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program (DCTAG); increases in the DCTAG annual and lifetime awards; and removal of the two enacted FY 2021 riders, which prohibit D.C. from spending its local funds on abortions for low-income women and on recreational marijuana commercialization. The House-passed FY 2022 D.C. Appropriations bill contains these three priorities as well.

“I am grateful to the full committee chair, Senator Patrick Leahy, and the subcommittee chair, Senator Chris Van Hollen, for this very strong D.C. Appropriations bill,” Norton said. “I am particularly pleased that the bill not only provides $40 million for DCTAG but also honors my request to increase both the annual and lifetime DCTAG awards, which would be the first increases in the annual and lifetime awards since I got DCTAG created in 1999. DCTAG is critical for D.C. students and families, who do not have the same array of tax-supported colleges like most states, and for the D.C. tax base because DCTAG encourages taxpayers to move to and remain in the District.

“I am also very pleased the bill respects D.C.’s right to self-government by allowing D.C. to spend its local funds on abortions for low-income women and 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 spending bill with no anti-democratic riders.”

Norton secured the following victories:

  • The bill provides $40 million for DCTAG, an increase in the annual DCTAG award from $10,000 to $15,000 and an increase in the lifetime DCTAG award from $50,000 to $75,000.
  • The bill has no anti-home-rule riders. In particular, it removes the two FY 2021 enacted riders, which prohibit the District from spending its local funds on abortions for low-income women and on recreational marijuana commercialization.
  • The bill provides $25 million for emergency planning and security costs related to the federal presence in D.C., though a much higher funding level is needed in the final bill to fully reimburse D.C. for such costs.
  • The bill exempts D.C. from federal government shutdowns in FY 2023. Norton has gotten annual shutdown exemptions enacted every year since the 2013 federal government shutdown.
  • The bill provides $8 million for DC Water for ongoing work to control flooding in the city and to clean up the Anacostia and Potomac rivers and Rock Creek.
  • The bill provides an extra $4 million to combat HIV/AIDS in D.C.
  • The bill provides $600,000 for the Major General David F. Wherley, Jr. District of Columbia National Guard Retention and College Access Program.

Norton is disappointed, however, that bill:

  • Disregards the Local Budget Autonomy Act and continues to appropriate D.C.’s local funds.
  • Continues to allow new students to enroll in the private school voucher program Congress imposed on the District, which is the only federally funded or created voucher program in the U.S. and does not require schools that participate in the program to comply with federal civil rights laws. 
  • Does not increase the household income eligibility for DCTAG. 

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