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The White House threatened Monday to veto the 2015 House appropriations bill, which contains a buried amendment that would effectively quash D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization bill.
In June, Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, tacked on an amendment to the larger appropriations bill that said D.C. could not use any of its money to enact or enforce its locally passed decriminalization. The bill looks like it will survive its mandated 60-day Congressional review period, which expires Thursday, but if there is no money to enforce the law, it could be rendered meaningless.
The Appropriations Committee already passed the appropriations bill, which now has to make it through a full House vote and a joint conference with the Senate, which seems unlikely at best.
But the Office of Management and Budget, which issued the memo, didn’t recommend that the president veto the bill just because it wanted to show its support for D.C. rights.
The memo gives a long lists of reasons why the bill should be blocked, including that it “impedes implementation of the Affordable Care Act, undermines critical components of Wall Street reform, and fails to provide the resources necessary to provide robust taxpayer services and improve tax enforcement.”
There is, however, a section of the memo dedicated to the importance of D.C. being able to use its locally generated tax dollars on what its residents and elected officials want. This section notes the marijuana amendment and another amendment that would prevent D.C. from spending money on abortions.
“The Administration strongly opposes language in the bill that restricts D.C. from using its local funds for abortion services, undermining the principles of States’ right and the District home rule. Longstanding Federal policy already policy already prohibits Federal funds from being used for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered. Similarly, the Administration strongly opposes the language in the bill preventing the District from using its own local funds to carry out locally-passed marijuana policies, which again undermines the principles of States’ rights and of District home rule. Furthermore, the language poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department’s enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District.
Read the memo below: