This is no ordinary hearing between city officials and federal lawmakers. It comes at a time when relations between the two are particularly strained. Gray and other city officials for the past month or two have led a series of demonstrations on the Hill. Meanwhile Republicans, since taking back the House of Representatives, there has been a renewed focused on local District affairs in a successful push to strip back D.C. autonomy.
Finally, the scandals in City Hall, the questionable hiring practices, the Sulaimon Brown saga, the luxury SUVs – these haven’t helped the District's cause to promote itself as fiscally responsible. But city leaders say the District has year after year passed a balanced budget, something their counterparts on the Hill have had trouble doing recently.