Norton to Take to House Floor to Protest House Republicans Blocking Her Amendments to Strike Anti-D.C. Riders While Allowing Two Anti-D.C. Amendments, Today
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will speak on the House floor this afternoon at approximately 12:45 p.m. after the Rules Committee last night did not make in order her amendments to strike five anti-home-rule riders from the House’s fiscal year 2019 District of Columbia Appropriations bill, even though Norton’s amendments complied with House rules. The Rules Committee made in order two Republican amendments that would block D.C.’s health insurance individual mandate. Norton will speak during debate on the rule for the fiscal year 2019 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which contains D.C.’s appropriations bill.
“House Republicans have launched the largest number of attacks on D.C. home rule since taking control of the House in 2011 and are now preventing the People’s House from taking a full vote on my amendments to strike riders that target D.C.’s local laws and policies,” Norton. “Yet, Republicans are more than willing to allow a floor vote on further attacks to D.C. home rule by making in order amendments that would gut D.C.’s health insurance mandate law. This outrageous hypocrisy is a further insult to D.C. residents. Although Republican attacks in the House come each year, I have been able to defeat nearly all of them in conference and intend to do so again.”
Norton’s amendments would have struck the riders that repeal the Local Budget Autonomy Act of 2012, prohibit D.C. from spending its local funds on recreational marijuana commercialization, prohibit D.C. from spending its local funds on abortions for low-income women, repeal the Death with Dignity Act and prohibit D.C. from spending its local funds to carry out the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act.
The amendments targeting D.C.’s health insurance individual mandate were filed by Representative Gary Palmer (R-AL) and Representative Keith Rothfus (R-PA). Palmer’s amendment would prohibit D.C. from using its local funds to carry out the Health Insurance Requirement Amendment Act of 2018 (HIRA), which requires D.C. residents to have health insurance and is modeled on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate. Rothfus’ amendment would to prohibit D.C. from using its local funds to seize assets as part of enforcing a HIRA tax penalty. Norton said that the Republican reaction to D.C.’s heath insurance law may be a reaction to its failed attempts to repeal the ACA.
The Rules Committee made Rothfus’ amendment in order even though he filed it after the amendment deadline and it contained a drafting error. The original version of the Rothfus amendment referred to a part of the D.C. Code that does not exist. The Rules Committee did not make in order Palmer’s amendment that would have prohibited D.C. from using its local funds to carry out the recent voter-passed Initiative 77, which would eliminate the tipped minimum wage.