Pres. Obama’s Budget Calls For D.C. Autonomy

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is applauding the fact that Pres. Barack Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget includes language about granting the District budget and legislative autonomy.

It is “the strongest and most comprehensive call for local D.C. autonomy in a President’s budget ever,” according to a news release from Norton’s office.

In April 2013, District voters approved a referendum amending the city charter to say that local tax dollars are not subject to congressional review. It took effect Jan. 1 but Congress declared it invalid Jan. 30.

“Budget autonomy would give the District the permanent authority to spend its local funds without congressional approval and to set its own fiscal year budget,” Norton’s release says.

“Legislative autonomy would eliminate the congressional review period for legislation passed by the D.C. Council, which provides no benefit to Congress, but imposes substantial costs (in time and money) on the District.”

The budget reads:

The District of Columbia annually receives direct Federal payments for a number of local programs in recognition of the District’s unique status as the seat of the Federal Government. These General and Special Payments are separate from and in addition to the District’s local budget, which is funded through local revenues. Consistent with the principle of home rule, it is the Administration’s view that the District’s local autonomy should be enhanced and increased. The Administration will work with Congress and the Mayor to provide the District local budget and legislative autonomy, as proposed in the Budget.

This story has been edited. The original text of the budget narrative was from a previous budget submitted by President Obama.

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