The D.C. Council is hoping that voters will grant it the power to spend local tax dollars without Congressional approval.
Councilmember Phil Mendelson on Tuesday introduced an amendment to the District of Columbia charter that would grand the district its long-sought budget autonomy. All 11 councilmembers signed on as co-introducers.
The plan is to vote on the bill by December, which would put the referendum on the ballot during a special election this spring. If voters approve it, it would be up to Congress and the president to disapprove of their action.
But Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the district in Congress, issued a statement Tuesday indicating she doesn't support the referendum effort. She says she'll continue pushing to secure budget autonomy through a bill in Congress.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following statement on a bill introduced in the District of Columbia Council authorizing a proposed Charter amendment to grant the city budget autonomy:
"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. The denial of budget autonomy not only violates a basic tenant of self-government, it also imposes substantial operational and financial costs on the city. 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. In light of these issues and increasing Republican and Democratic support for budget autonomy, we will continue to work with our allies in the House and Senate to pass a budget autonomy bill."