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Issa: House Bill Frees D.C. From Specter Of Government Shutdown

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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.

A key congressional committee moved D.C. a little closer to gaining some budget autonomy.

For years, D.C. officials have been begging Congress to give them control of their own purse strings. The bill approved by the House Government Reform Committee moves D.C. a little closer to that goal. If it becomes law, the District government would no longer be threatened if the federal government shuts down.

"On a bipartisan basis, we want to make sure any shutdown of the District is off the table," says Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who helped craft the changes. "So our view is, you know, it's all technical, but it's a good package of bipartisan, technical changes."

Those changes also include allowing D.C. officials to decide when to begin their own fiscal year. It's currently the same as the federal government's. The bill would also allow the city to offer a more competitive salary in its search for a new Chief Financial Officer.

D.C Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says she supports the intent of the bill, even though it falls short of full autonomy. Issa says this bill is a start.

"Autonomy sometimes is one step at a time," he says. "In this case these are all good steps towards the District being able to do things themselves."

Tomorrow the Senate Appropriations Committee is taking up a D.C. spending bill that will then have to be melded with a House version which bars District tax dollars from paying for abortions.

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