Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (District of Columbia)
Jul 7, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that the House’s fiscal year (FY) 2021 District of Columbia Appropriations bill, released today, contains most of her top policy and funding priorities. The bill, among other things, prohibits the president from federalizing the D.C. police department; contains no anti-home-rule riders; abides by D.C.’s local budget autonomy law; and provides $40 million for the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program (DCTAG), with a $250,000 increase in the family income eligibility limit for DCTAG. The bill will be marked up by the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee at 1 p.m. tomorrow, July 8, 2020, in 2118 Rayburn House Office Building.
“Until the Senate passes our D.C. statehood bill, we are on guard to protect the city’s local autonomy and priorities,” Norton said. “I am grateful to Subcommittee Chairman Mike Quigley and Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey for their continued support for D.C.’s right to self-government. I also particularly appreciate that they provided $40 million for DCTAG, my program that allows thousands of D.C. students each year to attend colleges and universities across the United States in the absence of the typical state university system in the District.”
- The bill prohibits the president from federalizing the D.C. police department in FY 2021. The D.C. Home Rule Act permits the president to federalize the D.C. police department. Last month, during largely peaceful protests in D.C., the Trump administration threatened to federalize the D.C. police department.
- The bill provides $40 million for DCTAG, which each of the last five enacted spending bills have provided, but, with Democrats in control of the House, repeals the provision in the enacted FY 2019 spending bill that reduced the family income eligibility limit from $750,000 to $500,000.
- The bill has no anti-home-rule riders. In particular, it removes the two enacted FY 2020 D.C. riders—prohibitions on the District’s use of its local funds on abortion and on recreational marijuana commercialization.
- The bill provides $52.9 million for emergency planning and security costs related to the federal presence in D.C., including the next inauguration.
- The bill allows the District to spend its local funds under the Local Budget Autonomy Act, which means that the local budget passed by the D.C. Council and signed by the mayor can take effect after a congressional review period, like all other local D.C. bills. If enacted, this bill would be the first since enactment of the Home Rule Act that D.C. could spend its local funds without a congressional appropriation of such funds.
- The bill exempts D.C. from federal government shutdowns in FY 2022. Norton has gotten annual shutdown exemptions enacted every year since the 2013 federal government shutdown.
- The bill provides $8 million for the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) for ongoing work to control flooding in the city and clean up the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and Rock Creek, the same as the enacted FY 2020 level; an extra $4 million to combat HIV/AIDS in D.C., the same as the enacted FY 2020 level; and $413,000 for the Major General David F. Wherley, Jr. District of Columbia National Guard Retention and College Access Program for tuition for D.C. National Guard soldiers, the same as the enacted FY 2020 level.
Norton is disappointed that the bill allows new students to enroll in the private school voucher program Congress imposed on the District, but is pleased that the bill requires participating voucher schools to comply with federal civil rights laws. The program has failed to improve academic achievement, as measured by math and reading test scores. The D.C. voucher program is the only federally funded voucher program in the U.S.