Norton refuses to back new D.C. budget autonomy push

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Photo - Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (Getty Images)
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (Getty Images)
Local,DC,Alan Blinder

The District's representative in Congress declined on Tuesday to endorse a D.C. Council proposal that would allow voters to decide whether they want to amend the charter to give D.C. more control of its budget.

"Along with D.C. residents, I share the D.C. Council's frustration at sending the city's local budget to a Congress that has no part in raising the city's local revenue," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a statement. "After being informed of the proposed charter amendment and investigating it, we briefed the mayor and council chairman on the legal and institutional issues and risks of a referendum that would allow the city to give itself budget autonomy."

Norton said that the risks, along with growing Capitol Hill support for greater local control of the D.C. budget, would prompt her to "continue to work with our allies in the House and Senate to pass a budget autonomy bill."

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson on Tuesday introduced legislation that would give D.C. residents the chance to vote on an overhaul of the city's budget-writing process.

Mendelson quickly won the support of the District's other 11 lawmakers, though his proposal still has obstacles in its path, including a congressional review period.

Under existing law, Congress must approve the District's budget, including the approximately $6 billion in local funds within it.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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