D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. Photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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When the congressional subcommittee chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) held a hearing on the D.C. budget in May 2011, it was clear who was really in charge. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who leads the full committee that oversees Gowdy’s subpanel, stole the show and surprised the D.C. officials present by delivering a monologue in which he endorsed budget autonomy for the District.

Now, Issa’s making official what’s already been apparent. With Gowdy taking the helm of an immigration subcommittee, Issa is elevating D.C. matters to the full Oversight and Government Reform committee, stripping the Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census and the National Archives of its second area of jurisdiction.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton announced the change in a press release this evening.

“I have just learned that District of Columbia matters will be considered in the full committee rather than the usual subcommittee,” Norton said in the release. “I am delighted about this change, which is the arrangement I requested when former Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) chaired the committee. Chairman Darrell Issa has shown the same deep knowledge and concern for District issues and respect for the city’s home rule and its general welfare. The direct involvement of a chairman who wants to strengthen the city and its presence in the Congress cannot be overemphasized.”

Issa is term-limited by Republican Party rules, so he’ll just chair the committee through the end of 2014. D.C. officials hoping for greater city autonomy on the budget, the Height Act, and possibly a commuter tax—-all possibilities mentioned by Issa in the past two years—-are pinning their hopes on Issa to make it happen. Now he’s got just a little more power to do so.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery