On Tuesday, D.C Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton had a moment on Capitol Hill that arguably could end up as another clip about District independence on John Oliver‘s Last Week Tonight.
During a House Oversight Committee hearing on D.C. budget autonomy, Norton told her Republican colleagues that their efforts to continue micromanaging the District’s local dollars were hypocritical. The committee ultimately passed a bill, 22 to 14, seeking to overturn a 2013 referendum in which more than 80 percent of D.C. voters supported local budget autonomy, like states have.
Oklahoma Rep. Steve Russell at one point called D.C. the “nation’s city,” suggesting that $7 billion raised last year through District taxes belonged to all Americans. North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows introduced the bill, arguing that the Constitution gives federal lawmakers supreme authority over D.C.: “It really comes back to the constitutional intent of our Founding Fathers.”
“You do have complete authority!” Norton said, exasperatedly. “We concede that. What we’re asking is for you to delegate that authority to the District of Columbia just as you have delegated Home Rule to the District of Columbia.”
“So you contradict yourself,” she continued. “Because forty years ago you delegated your quote ‘complete authority’ to the Council of the District of Columbia…You have no ‘complete authority’ over me, sir, because I live in the District of Columbia.”
Watch Norton’s peroration, starting at 1:35, below: