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THE NEWS:

The good news is that Congress is on track to pass a spending bill and avoid a government shutdown. The bad news is that the $1.4 trillion federal spending bill yet again includes anti-home-rule riders.  

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the spending deal today, ahead of Friday’s shutdown deadline. Tucked in the 2,313-pagespending bills are two provisions that undermine the District’s autonomy and underscore the need for statehood: a ban on using local dollars to commercialize recreational marijuana and a ban on using local dollars to pay for abortion services. 

The former undermines a bill that would legalize and regulate recreational dispensaries while the latter burdens low-income people by forcing them to cobble together hundreds of dollars to terminate an unwanted pregnancy because public insurance won’t pay.    

“This policy deprives residents of D.C. of that same freedom to govern themselves and violates the promise of home rule. It’s a policy that should not continue,” tweeted Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) of the anti-abortion rider. (The last time there were no abortion restrictions for District residents was under the Clinton administration.)  

According to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton,the Republican-controlled Senate also  included a provision that reauthorizes D.C.’s private school voucher program through fiscal year 2023—the only federal program of its kind. In 2012, a Post investigation revealed that hundreds of District students use their voucher dollars to attend schools that are unaccredited or in unusual settings like a Nation of Islam school housed in a Deanwood residence.       

But Norton was able to secure an extra $17.5 million for both D.C. public schools and charters in fiscal year 2020, and $40 million for the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program.

“Securing $40 million for DCTAG is a big win for the thousands of D.C. students in colleges and universities across the 50 states, and we did well on the spending side,” Norton said in a press statement. “Until Democrats take the Senate, it will be difficult to eliminate anti-home-rule riders.”

It’s true that until Democrats take back the Senate, it’s hard to see Congress empowering the District by removing anti-home-rule riders, much less passing statehood legislation. Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? Email agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • Two months after Jamaal Byrd died in police custody, his family still doesn’t know what happened to him. [DCist]

  • Would taller buildings make District housing cheaper? [WAMU

  • Bowser administration and charters disagree on the number of vacant school buildings. [Post]   

  • Potomac Conservancy denounces Tucker Carlson’s claims that immigrants make the river “dirtier” and fact-checks racist comments. [Twitter]

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LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Only four DCHA board members met on the mayor’s floor of the Wilson Building ahead of a close vote to decide what to do about their HQ, board chair Neil Albert said. [Twitter, WCP]

  • DCRA blow-up legislation will move through the Council next year. [DC Line]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com) 

  • Rapper Pusha T is throwing his name behind H Street NE’s forthcoming ramen bar, Kitsuen. [WCP]

  • Some investors lost their life savings when Trickling Springs Creamery closed this year. [Post]

  • A D.C. chef was arrested by ICE officers and is still detained. [DCist]

  • Spotted: Mike Pence dining at Martin’s Tavern. [PoPville]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at Round House Theatre focuses on a neurodiverse hero. [WCP]

  • The Sleigher: Dionne Warwick feat. Michael McDonald, “Jingle Bell Rock” [WCP]

  • A Michael B. Jordan movie comes near Dupont Circle this week—and brings street closures with it. [DCist]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The Wizards snapped a four-game losing streak with a 133-119 win over the Pistons. Bradley Beal had 35 points and Isaiah Thomas scored 23. [ESPN]

  • Former Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer was spotted at Sunday’s game at FedExField, leading to speculation that he could be the local NFL team’s next coach. “It wouldn’t be the worst experiment they ever tried,” writes Post columnist Sally Jenkins. [Post]

  • 15-year-old Robin Montgomery of D.C. won the girls’ 18 and under title at the prestigious Orange Bowl junior tennis tournament in Florida.  [Tennis Panorama]

MAKE PLANS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full To Do This Week newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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