Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser traveled to Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon to meet with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and discuss how they will coordinate with each other and lawmakers in the new Republican-controlled Congress.
After the meeting, Bowser and Norton spoke briefly with reporters, and were optimistic about accomplishing District of Columbia priorities despite challenges with a wider GOP majority in the House and a Republican Senate.
“Knowing that there will be more Republicans here tells you nothing,” Norton told a group of reporters in her Rayburn office. “I got more done when Newt Gingrich was here than I think I’ve gotten under perhaps almost any speaker here. So you just can’t tell. And the way we’ve gotten it done is by working very closely with the mayor.”
Norton said their first priority would be passing a D.C. appropriations bill. The current continuing resolution funding the government expires Dec. 11.
The congresswoman said she was optimistic a clean appropriations bill, free of any policy riders, would pass, despite opposition to the recent legalization of marijuana in the District. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., has said he will work to halt legalization .
“I’ve already gotten decriminalization through,” said Norton. “We still have the same makeup that we had at that time, so I would say prospects are good.”
Over the summer, the District decriminalized marijuana , making possession a civil offense subject to a fine. Harris had also attempted to block decriminalization by attaching an amendment to the appropriations bill, but the spending bill ultimately passed without his amendment .
Norton and Bowser both stressed that close collaboration between their offices will be key to advocating for the District on Capitol Hill. Their meeting Thursday was Norton’s idea and Bowser said she hoped to gain a better understanding of D.C.-Hill relations with the new Congress.
“I also wanted [Norton] to give me her analsysis of how the District is going to work with the new Congress,” said Bowser. “And how those committees may lay out and make sure that we’re working hand in hand to establish those relationships.”
Norton and Bowser clasped each others’ hands at one point, showing that they are a united front.
“I want you guys to get used to two women being in charge now,” said Norton.
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