WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The D.C. government is the only U.S. jurisdiction prohibited from spending local funds during a federal budget impasse, and if Congress doesn’t approve a short-term funding bill in time, parts of the federal government will shut down on Oct. 1.
On Wednesday, however, Mayor Vincent Gray declared that all District government operations will be considered essential during any potential shutdown of the federal government.
Up until Gray’s announcement, it was assumed that a contingency plan would allow for public schools to remain open and for police, firefighters and EMS units to be on duty but force the close of the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the Department of Public Works and D.C. Public Libraries.
Street sweeping would’ve been suspended, trash collection would have temporarily halted and there would have been limited operations in the health and human services departments.
“I have determined that everything the District government does – protecting the health, safety and welfare of our residents and visitors – is essential,” Gray said in a statement.
“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….I will not allow the safety and well-being of District residents to be compromised by Congress’s dysfunction.”
Gray also wrote a letter to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, informing her of his decision.
(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)