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Analysis: Amid Shutdown, D.C. Leaders Pressuring Congress For Budget Autonomy

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As lawmakers on Capitol Hill try to negotiate a deal to raise the debt ceiling by October 17 and avoid a default on the nation's debts, local leaders are pressuring Congress and the President to first allow D.C. to spend its locally raised funds. Since the shutdown began last week, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has been tapping into a special reserve to keep city operations running. But he's warning that those funds could soon run out and leave the city in crisis. Mayor Gray crashed a press conference this week led by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, accusing Democrats of taking D.C.'s budget hostage. Meanwhile, in a private meeting, D.C.'s Delegate to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton directly confronted President Obama about the city's situation. David Hawkings, writer of Hawkings Here column for Roll Call, has some of the details.

On Congressional Democratic leaders' views of Mayor Gray's actions on the Hill:

"I think they were flatly annoyed. There's a certain code in politics — kind of, I won't interrupt your political theater, if you won't interrupt mine — And Mayor Gray violated that code. He was doing an event on the Capitol Lawn, and he says that Harry Reid was doing a separate event, and essentially crashed the party. And that is sort of not the way you get things done in Congress even in this current hyperbolic and partisan and vitriolic era that we're living in. That isn't considered good form."

On whether the funding battle will help forge a bond between Republicans in Congress and D.C.'s local government:

"That's what the Republicans have hoped. You may remember before the shutdown began, one of the first handfuls of these... what we've been doing in the House are these rifle shot continuing resolutions, one department or program at a time... and the bill to allow the district to use its own locally raised money was one of the first to pass. And that was clearly an attempt by the Republicans, including Darryl Issa, who has become a champion of this cause."

On Norton talking about the seriousness of D.C.'s situation and how this will affect the district's relationship with Congress:

"I think it's fair to say Norton has a fair relationship with the administration and Congress than Mayor Gray. Norton is a longtime Democratic activist. She's been around a long time; she knows show things are done. After this exchange, which did get pretty heated, they did sort of make up afterward and their standing is a little bit better."

Listen to the full analysis here.

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