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House Passes D.C. Appropriations Bill Without Riders

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By Rebecca Blatt

The U.S. House has passed a D.C. Appropriations bill, approved already by a House-Senate conference committee, without any riders restricting how the city can spend its money.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton says it's the first time in her memory the House has not imposed conditions on the District's money. She says riders are undemocratic, but there's one she calls the most lethal: a ban on funding for needle exchange programs. Norton says it's the reason D.C. has such a high rate of HIV infection.

"This rider has been responsible for the deaths and illness of thousands of Washingtonians," Norton says. "Getting rid off it once and for all...is to be celebrated."

Congress removed the rider in 2007, but some lawmakers had tried to add restrictions this year.

The bill approved by the House also removes riders on abortions for low-income women and a medical marijuana law residents approved in a referendum 11 years ago.

The bill still needs Senate approval.

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