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Analysis: Senator Rand Paul Derails D.C. Budget Autonomy Momentum

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Proponents of D.C. budget autonomy withdrew support for a bill to give the District more control over its budget this week  after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a number of amendments. Paul wanted to permanently ban city funding of abortions and relax the city's gun laws by allowing residents to carry concealed weapons.

David Hawkings , editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing talks with Matt McCleskey, host of WAMU's Morning Edition, on the recent setback for D.C. legislatures.

On how Paul blindsided legislators:"Sen Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) who was the chairman of the committee that was getting ready to mark this bill up, told us that just hours before Sen. Rand Paul announced this that everything was fine and things were ready to rock," says Hawkings. "Sen. Paul is developing a reputation in his first two years in the Senate as 'that Senator' you read about in civics textbooks, who is willing and eager to use a Senator's individual power to slow things down or get what he wants at almost every turn."

On what could have been the motive for Paul to make these moves: "It was a bit of an opportunity for him. He believes, obviously, there's a big disconnect between his libertarian views of small federal government and devolving power to the people and to locales and states, which would seem to argue entirely in favor of this budget autonomy bill, on the one hand," says Hawkings. "But at the same time, he's a social and cultural conservative. He's absolutely opposed to abortion rights and to gun control."

Whether D.C. will have another shot at budget autonomy this year: "I think so long as Sen. Paul is connected to this position and is insisted on this position, it is stuck for the year. I don't think there's much time," says Hawkings. "Friday, when Congress leaves on a week-long July 4th recess, is a customary moment in the four-year presidential cycle when most big legislating from here on out — between now and the election — is stopped pretty much in its tracks."


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