Norton Defends D.C. Appropriations Bill
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Congresswoman Norton Defends D.C. Appropriations Bill

Floor Statement - "Dear Colleague" Letter - Flyer to Members

For Immediate Release Contact: Sean Gralton

July 28, 1999 (202) 225-8050

Congresswoman Norton's Web Site: http://www.house.gov/norton/

NORTON ON HOUSE FLOOR SAYS PRESIDENT WILL VETO DISTRICT APPROPRIATIONS BECAUSE OF ANTI-DEMOCRATIC AMENDMENTS

URGES A "NO-VOTE" ON RULE

Statement on the Floor

July 27, 1999

I want to thank Chairman Ernest Istook and Ranking Member Jim Moran who have worked very hard and very well to bring the D.C. appropriation to the floor early this year. My thanks also to Speaker Denny Hastert and Chairman Bill Young who met with the District's new Mayor, Tony Williams, and me early this year and indicated they would work for early consideration of the city's budget. They have kept that promise. I want to say a special word of sincere appreciation to Chairman Istook in particular for his openness and communication with me and with city officials that enabled us to settle amicably the small differences that inevitably arise. His respect for the work of our new mayor and the D.C. City Council is manifested in the city's consensus budget, which came with the approval of the District's control board and to which Chairman Istook has now given his approval as well.

This hard work is now threatened by amendments that legislate on appropriations in ways that are strongly opposed by the new Mayor and all the members of the revitalized City Council. Congress has the right to make policy for the nation. You have no right to dictate policy to a local jurisdiction. Yet, four amendments that have been made in order and protected are taken straight out of the annals of authoritarianism. They would impose on the District a provision that is not only grotesquely anti-democratic, but also is moot, that prohibits local funds in a constitutional test of congressional voting rights; a prohibition on even local funds to contribute to a private lifesaving needle exchange program that has saved hundreds of residents from death and disease caused by the HIV-AIDS epidemic; a prohibition on unmarried couples jointly adopting a child despite 3000 children awaiting adoption; an entire bill penalizing the possession of tobacco by minors that Mayor Williams has asked be deferred in favor of his own approach; and an amendment that seeks to overturn local initiative on medical marijuana when no such law has been enacted. The bill itself also contains two provisions highly objectionable to city residents and elected officials that I cannot possibly support: a prohibition on the use of even local funds for abortions for poor women and a bar implementation of the city's domestic partner law.

The District has just elected a new reform-minded Mayor and revitalized City Council. They have sent us a balanced budget with a surplus, with prudent reinvestments in neglected services, and with a tax cut for residents and businesses. Their work should not be undermined by the imposition of the personal preferences of Members on a local jurisdiction to which Members are not accountable to local voters. The cumulative effect of these appendages to what is essentially a local budget is so obnoxious that a veto specifically has been threatened. I can only plead with you to save this appropriation from needless contention and veto by defeating each and every one of these autocratic and anti-democratic anti-home rule amendments. This Rule defeats the good work of the Subcommittee by drowning it with irrelevant legislation anathema to the people I represent. I must therefore ask that you vote against the Rule.

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THE NATION'S CAPITAL NEW MAYOR TONY WILLIAMS,

D.C. CITY COUNCIL CHAIR LINDA CROPP

AND DELEGATE ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON ASK YOU TO PASS THE D.C. CONSENSUS BUDGET CONSISTING OF LOCALLY RAISED REVENUE WITHOUT RIDERS IMPOSED UNDEMOCRATICALLY ON LOCAL RESIDENTS

July 20, 1999

Dear Colleague:

The District's new Mayor Tony Williams and the city's revitalized City Council, in this, the first year of a reform administration, are asking that you vote for a clean D.C. appropriation without riders. They believe that their work in submitting a sound budget that shows a strong surplus as approved by the control board should be respected as is and should not be used as a vehicle to overturn democratically enacted local laws. The city's efforts in allocating scarce resources after years of fiscal crisis and disinvestment, in affording tax relief to residents and businesses, and in pressing reform of the District government, deserve encouragement, not legislative attachments that local officials unanimously oppose.

The District's consensus budget as submitted remains largely unchanged, thanks to the oversight of Chairman Ernest Istook on this year's appropriation. I particularly appreciate Chairman Istook's hard and thorough work and that of Ranking Member Jim Moran and the way that Chairman Istook, Chairman Bill Young, and Speaker Dennis Hastert have cleared the decks for early consideration of the D.C. appropriation this year.

However, the social riders that have been included in the bill and others that may be proposed are totally unacceptable and are strongly opposed by Mayor Williams and the entire City Council without exception. The possible riders which we know of and oppose are:

Mayor Williams and all thirteen members of the City Council ask that you oppose these riders. I join them in this request. The Administration also has indicated strong opposition to a number of the riders and, therefore, our appropriation could once again be delayed even after the very good work that has been done to move the D.C. budget earlier than usual.

District officials ask that you bear in mind that the D.C. appropriation is very different from the other appropriations bills you consider. Virtually all of the funds in this appropriation are locally raised revenues, because the federal payment was eliminated in 1997. Therefore, we ask that you treat the D.C. budget as you would want the local taxpayer-raised budget respected in your own home town.

Best regards.

Sincerely,

(Signed)

Eleanor Holmes Norton


NO ANTI-HOME RULE RIDERS ON THE D.C. APPROPRIATION ! ! !



VOTE YES ON THE NORTON AMENDMENT STRIKING PROHIBITION ON D.C. PARTICIPATION IN VOTING RIGHTS SUIT BECAUSE:

VOTE NO ON THE TIAHRT AMENDMENT PROHIBITING LOCAL FUNDS FOR NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS BECAUSE IT:

VOTE NO ON THE LARGENT AMENDMENT PROHIBITING JOINT ADOPTIONS BY UNMARRIED COUPLES BECAUSE IT:

VOTE NO ON THE BILBRAY AMENDMENT PROHIBITING MINORS FROM POSSESSING TOBACCO BECAUSE IT:

VOTE NO ON THE BARR AMENDMENT PROHIBITING LOCAL FUNDS TO ENACT A MEDICINAL MARIJUANA LAW BECAUSE:

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

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