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A little more than 24 hours since the idea was proposed in yesterday’s mayoral breakfast meeting, it’s official. Mayor Vince Gray has told the federal government he plans to keep the D.C. government open if the feds shut down.
Gray’s decision hinges on his ability to keep essential functions running, despite the shutdown. Instead of just operating the services usually deemed essential, like police and fire departments, Gray says in a letter to the federal Office of Management and Budget that he’s declaring all city employees “essential.”
“I will not allow the safety and well-being of District residents to be compromised by Congress’s dysfunction,” Gray says in a statement.
Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray explained his decision to declare all District government operations as essential during a potential shutdown of the federal government. “I have determined that everything the District government does – protecting the health, safety and welfare of our residents and visitors – is essential,” said Mayor Gray. “It is ridiculous that a city of 632,000 people – a city where we have balanced our budget for 18 consecutive years and have a rainy-day fund of well over a billion dollars – cannot spend its residents’ own local tax dollars to provide them the services they’ve paid for without Congressional approval. Congress can’t even get its own fiscal house in order; they should be taking lessons from us rather than imposing needless suffering on us. I will not allow the safety and well-being of District residents to be compromised by Congress’s dysfunction.”
A copy of the letter that Mayor Gray sent to the head of the federal Office of Management and Budget making his determination is attached.
Gray’s letter to OMB: