D.C. Officials Say No Thanks to Autonomy Plan Linked to Abortion Funding

Posted November 16, 2011 at 11:05am

With “regret,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and senior local officials have rejected Rep. Darrell Issa’s proposal to give the district local budget autonomy in exchange for a prohibition on abortion funding.

The California Republican, who chairs the Oversight and Government Reform Committee which has jurisdiction over district affairs, unveiled draft legislation Monday that would unlink D.C. from the Congressional budget process.

Norton, Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. councilmembers have been clamoring for the right to determine district’s funding in light of recent threats of government shutdowns that could have halted many local operations.

But Issa’s belief that a bill giving D.C. more independence would only pass the House with a provision barring the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions in the district ultimately cost him their support.

“Despite our opposition to the abortion provision, we believe that the Issa bill demonstrated a good-faith effort that addressed many of our concerns, and deserved the careful investigation and due diligence we tried to give it,” said Norton, Gray and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown in a joint statement released this morning. “We hope [it] represents a continuation of a conversation … not an end.”

Though Issa’s spokesman said earlier that he hoped local officials would offer their support to move the bill faster through the legislative pipeline, Issa could still act without their endorsement.