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President Barack Obama still supports budget autonomy for the District, even if he’s not doing much about it.
In 2012, the administration inserted pro-autonomy language into its budget. That passage remains intact in the 2014 fiscal year budget, released just 13 days before the District’s maybe-illegal referendum on the issue. While the passage below is in the remarks section, new budget autonomy has been added as a legislative provision, a first for the District:
Consistent with the principle of home rule, it is the Administration’s view that the District’s local budget should be authorized to take effect without a separate annual Federal appropriations bill. The Administration will work with Congress and the Mayor to provide the District local budget autonomy, as proposed in the Budget.
This isn’t the only half-hearted gesture on the District’s behalf—-remember the license plates?—-but it probably won’t be enough to satisfy Mayor Vince Gray. After the 2012 budget autonomy language was added, Gray wondered aloud to the Washington Post why Obama couldn’t mention budget autonomy in the State of the Union address, saying, “Why don’t you just stand up and say it, so the world can hear it?”
Updated with information about legislative provision.
Photo by Flickr user Mr. T in DC under Creative Commons license