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Analysis: Congressional Dysfunction Could Help D.C. Budget Referendum

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Norton wants D.C. budget autonomy and for the Washington Redskins to get a new name. Will she get her way?
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Norton wants D.C. budget autonomy and for the Washington Redskins to get a new name. Will she get her way?

The relationship between D.C. and Congress is back in the news this week. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is reminding voters that she's keeping a close eye on a recent referendum allowing the city budget autonomy, and it's not clear whether federal lawmakers will try to block the measure. Meanwhile, Norton also joined several other members of Congress in demanding that Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder change the team's name. David Hawkings joins WAMU 88.5's Morning Edition Matt McCleskey to talk about the details. Hawkings was recently editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing. He's still with CQ Roll Call, now writing political analysis in a new blog and column called Hawkings Here.

On Whether Support Congress WIll Try and Stop D.C. Budget Autonomy: “The District has a relatively good friend in Darrell Issa, the Republican from California who chairs the House Government Oversight Committee, which has jurisdiction over the District of Columbia. Mr. Issa wasn’t pleased with this referendum because he wanted to do legislation, and he and Ms. Norton had a long meeting about this, [though] they haven’t said what the results of that meeting were. But the indications are that Congress doesn’t want to get in the way of this, that they will probably let it go through and even if there is a move to stop it, Congress is so dysfunctional and partisan, that it would probably die before it get off the ground. In this case, it would take a groundswell of bipartisan opposition to block it, and there’s very little of that for anything."

On The Effort To Have Dan Snyder Change The Redskins' Team Name: "There’s a small bipartisan cast to this—one of the 10 lawmakers is a Republican, and he’s also the only Native American in Congress, Tom Cole of Oklahoma. It’s going to get some publicity, [but] it’s not going to lead to legislation. Again, there’s so much dysfunction that it’s probably a long-shot to do legislation. What they could do legislatively, they could actual punish the Redskins by changing the trademark rules so that they can’t use the name—which some say is offensive—as a trademark. I don’t think 10 members of Congress can trump Mr. Snyder on this."

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