Alaska Senator Commits to Push Budget Autonomy in D.C.
WASHINGTON (WNEW) — A Senator from Alaska is promising to help D.C. achieve fiscal and legislative autonomy.
D.C. Shadow Senator Paul Strauss says he spoke with Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who has committed to introducing two budget autonomy bills in April. He says one would deal with the fiscal side, and the other would deal with legislative autonomy.
Strauss is currently seeking re-election as the U.S. Senator from D.C. as a non-voting representative. He told WNEW’s Cameron Thompson he believes the bills have a real chance of bipartisan support.
“Congressman Darrel Issa, the Republican in the House supports the concept,” Strauss says.
“There are Republicans in the Senate who supported the bill last time and with Sen. Begich being both the introducer of the bill and the chairman of the relative committee, he’s in an excellent position to really move the legislation forward.”
Strauss says although Begich is currently running for reelection in Alaska, he still plans to push budget autonomy.
“He’s willing to stand up and do the right thing for the District of Columbia,” Strauss says.
“He’s a former mayor of Anchorage, he understands that city problems are complex and he feels that they should be run by people who understand how cities should be run – more importantly the people who live in a city.”
Strauss says they are going to let Sen. Begich approach his Republican colleagues to garner bipartisan support. However, he is not waiting until after his election in Alaska to move this budget forward.
“D.C. residents went to the polls and voted budget autonomy for ourselves,” Strauss says. “There’s an argument to be made, a good legal argument, that’s really all we need.”
It is suggested that the D.C. vote may not have a legal affect, but Strauss says he knows the best way to resolve that question – and it involves the U.S. Senate.
Passage of budget autonomy by the Senate would ensure “everybody’s on the same page,” according to Strauss.
Strauss says that President Obama is a big supporter of budget autonomy.
“The President put it in his budget language,” Strauss says.
“Budget autonomy is going to be an important step forward because it’s got a greater degree of bipartisan support.”
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