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D.C. Council Passes Budget

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By Patrick Madden

D.C.'s budget now awaits the signature of Mayor Adrian Fenty. The city council has passed the spending plan for next year, but it wasn't without some twists and turns. Even the council's breakfast, a traditionally laid-back affair, was interrupted when activists burst through the doors demanding the council spare cuts to social services.

Later, in a move that caught many off guard, Council Chair and mayoral candidate Vincent Gray announced funding for the city's street car system would be stripped for at least a year, leaving the programs main backer, Councilmember Tommy Wells fuming.

"I was stunned," says Wells.

The reaction was immediate. Street car proponents began firing off emails to the council, and perhaps sensing the political fallout, Gray announced funding was back on track.

"There was never any intent to not do street cars, we are committed to this," says Gray.

In the end, the council passed its budget, although few seemed pleased with the result. One member called the spending plan a "mess," another said it was "mismanaged," and Councilmember Jack Evans even voted against it.

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