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The shutdown deal passed in Congress yesterday only keeps the federal government running until Jan. 15, meaning the country could be only three months away from another shutdown. A potential future shutdown then would be easier on the District, though, because, the deal includes a special provision to allow the District to spend its own funds until the next fiscal year. (Separate legislation that would allow that permanently is also pending, and a D.C. referendum to declare budget autonomy is set to take effect on Jan. 1.)
In a late night statement, Mayor Vince Gray—-who had crashed a Democratic press conference and stood with House Republicans asking for the District to be set free from the shutdown last week—-thanked just about every congressional leader for giving the city a break until October 2014.
Read his statement, and the text of the provision, below.
“I offer thanks to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate D.C. Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), Senate D.C. Oversight Committee Member Mary Landrieu (D-La.), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and President Obama for recognizing the District’s unique plight and that it is completely unjust for the District to be barred from spending our own local revenues during a federal shutdown,” Mayor Gray said. “Most importantly, I want to offer my deepest gratitude to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, our tireless and fearless advocate for the people of the District of Columbia in Congress. We are fortunate to have her fighting for us every day.”
The language on D.C.:
SEC. 127. Notwithstanding any other provision of this joint resolution, the District of Columbia may expend local funds under the heading ‘‘District of Columbia Funds’’ for such programs and activities under title IV of H.R. 2786 (113th Congress), as reported by the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, at the rate set forth under ‘‘District of Columbia Funds— Summary of Expenses’’ as included in the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20–127), as modified as of the date of the enactment of this joint resolution.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery