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Rep. Issa Halts Bill on D.C. Hiring

With D.C. activists and City Council members braced for a fight, Rep. Darrell Issa has said he will halt consideration of a bill he introduced to restructure the city’s hiring practices.

The California Republican reached an agreement this morning with D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown to hold off on Thursday’s markup of the legislation at the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs.

Brown and others have argued that Councilmember Mary Cheh has introduced similar legislation that will be taken up by local officials, rendering Issa’s bill redundant and an infringement on the city’s autonomy. His bill, like Cheh’s, would set new standards for appointing high-level officials in D.C. government, with the hope of avoiding situations where employees are not properly vetted before being installed in powerful positions.

“Chairman Issa and Councilman Brown had a phone call this morning, and during that phone call, Chairman Issa secured commitment that [the] D.C. Council would pass legislation in the next two months to address Congressional concerns about improper hiring practices,” Issa’s spokesman, Frederick Hill, said.

Hill further suggested that Issa’s agreement to halt consideration of his bill was contingent upon the City Council’s action on Cheh’s legislation.

That means Issa’s bill could still resurface at a later date.

Despite these developments, Cheh has introduced a resolution today condemning Congressional interference in D.C. affairs, as symbolized by Issa’s legislation and his spearheading of an investigation into allegations of misconduct leveled at Mayor Vincent Gray.

Issa’s investigation, the findings of which were released Monday, happened simultaneously with a City Council probe.

“[It is] a deep offense to the people of the District of Columbia,” Cheh said in a statement.

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