Rep. Susan Davis Stands Up for D.C. Autonomy

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Washington, DC, May 25, 2016 | comments

Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) opposed legislation that would prevent the D.C. city government from spending locally raised revenue without first getting the approval of Congress.

"The House Majority can’t even get their own fiscal house in order and yet feel they can tell D.C. how to spend its own money?” said Congresswoman Davis. “We are still waiting for the House Majority to submit a budget, which was due back in April.  There are bigger issues facing America that Congress should address, such as the Zika virus, the Flint water crisis, making college for affordable and expanding voting rights. Micromanaging how the D.C. government spends its own money is not one of those issues.”

In 2012, the Local Budget Autonomy Amendment Act (BAA) was adopted by the D.C. Council and was then ratified in a referendum by 83 percent of the District’s voters. 

The BAA requires the D.C. Council to transmit the local portion of the D.C. budget, consisting of local taxes and fees, to Congress for a 30-day review period.  Under the BAA, like all other D.C. legislation, the local budget will take effect after the review period, unless a joint resolution of disapproval is enacted by Congress during the period.  This year, for the first time, the District is implementing the BAA.

Budget autonomy for D.C. has had past bipartisan support, including from former President George. W. Bush. Furthermore, the Local Budget Autonomy Amendment Act (BAA) has been upheld in court and is in effect.  On March 18, 2016, the D.C. Superior Court ruled that the BAA complies with the U.S. Constitution, federal budget laws, and the D.C. Home Rule Act.

Budget autonomy for D.C. has practical benefits for both the District and federal governments.  For the District government, it means lower borrowing costs; more accurate revenue and expenditure forecasts; improved agency operations; and the removal of the threat that federal government shutdowns an also shut down the District government, which means that the D.C. municipal services that federal employees rely on will not cease during a federal shutdown

The Obama Administration has issued a veto threat for the bill.

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