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U.S. Senate Appropriations Approves Less Restrictive Budget For D.C.

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The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a budget for the District that doesn't try to restrict city officials' ability to craft their own policies.

The House bill to fund the District includes a rider that forbids city officials from spending even local residents' tax dollars on abortions, which makes city officials bristle. It also says no federal dollars can go to the city's needle exchange or medical marijuana programs.

None of those restrictions are in the Senate version, which D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is praising. In a statement she says the bill has a keen eye toward the District's needs and priorities. The Senate bill includes $2.5 million more for HIV and AIDS prevention programs.

It also includes $2 million more for public and charter schools in D.C. than the House version. And while House lawmakers would slice D.C.'s tuition assistance program in half, the Senate bill increases it's funding by five million dollars.

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