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D.C. Officials Reject Issa Autonomy Proposal

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Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is now offering the District a budget autonomy deal, but city leaders aren't biting just yet.
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Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is now offering the District a budget autonomy deal, but city leaders aren't biting just yet.

D.C.'s top officials are saying they cannot support California Republican Darrell Issa's U.S. House proposal that would give the District more budget autonomy. Issa’s measure would let D.C. pass its budget without explicit Congressional approval, but as part of the deal, the city would be banned from spending local dollars on abortions.

While praising many facets of the plan from Issa, who is chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Vincent Gray, and Council Chair Kwame Brown say in a joint statement they regretfully cannot back it.

A provision of the bill would bar the city from spending any of its own money on abortion services for low-income women, and the Mayor, the Council Chairman, and Delegate Norton say that stipulation is a deal breaker.

"We recognize that the abortion provision is what Chairman Issa believed would be necessary to get the bill passed in the House. But the views of others should not prevail over the views of our own residents," the statement reads.

The last time Congress passed a similar restriction -- it was one of the concessions Democrats made during the government shutdown negotiations in April -- there was instant outrage from local leaders.

Hundreds of residents rallied in the street next to U.S. Capitol, ultimately leading to the arrest of dozens of people, including Mayor Vincent Gray and Council Chair Kwame Brown. But this time around, the response by D.C.’s top officials has been much different.

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