Analysis: Despite New GAO Ruling, D.C. Finds New Ally For Autonomy In Congress | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Analysis: Despite New GAO Ruling, D.C. Finds New Ally For Autonomy In Congress

Play associated audio

Proponents of greater autonomy for the District have suffered a setback, as the federal Government Accountability Office announced that the budget autonomy referendum approved by D.C. voters last April has no legal effect. But as David Hawkings — who writes the Hawking Here column for CQ Roll Call — explains to WAMU's Matt McCleskey, advocates may have gained some crucial support for their cause on Capitol Hill despite the GAO ruling.

Roll Call is reporting that Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) has come out in support of D.C. Budget Autonomy. How significant is his endorsement? And why do you think he would announce his support right as the GAO ruling comes out?

"He is important for a couple reasons. One, he is one of only a handful of senators who came to the Senate after being a mayor of a relatively big city, so people come to him for advice on big city stuff. Even more important, he is on both of the committees in the Senate that have sway over the District. He's actually the chairman of the subcommittee that sets D.C. policy. It's a subcommittee of the Homeland Security committee. And he's also a member of the Appropriations Committee, which actually has to vet the District's budget."

"So he actually came out and announced this yesterday. He had a hearing by coincidence scheduled last Thursday, and my colleague Hannah Hess was there, and it took some D.C. activists by happy surprise. But still a long way to go, there are still Republicans in an election year who won't want to get involved in this minor matter."

When can we expect Congress to pick this up?

"The answer would be, since Sen. Begich would have the ability to get a rider put into one of the appropriations bills this year, the earliest outcome would be a one-year pause in this because appropriations bills only set policy for one year at a time. That might happen, but more than that, a long shot."

NPR

Impressionist Hero Édouard Manet Gets The Star Treatment In Los Angeles

Manet was not himself an Impressionist, but he mightily influenced the movement. Two of his paintings are now in L.A. The Railway is making its West Coast debut, and Spring just sold for $65 million.
NPR

Stone Age Britons Were Eating Wheat 2,000 Years Before They Farmed It

Scientists have recovered cultivated wheat DNA from an 8,000-year-old submerged site off the British coast. The finding suggests hunter-gatherers were trading for the grain long before they grew it.
WAMU 88.5

Paycheck Politics And The Homeland Security Bill

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is blasting Republicans who claim that the department's workers can weather a temporary shutdown if Congress can't finish legislation to fund the department by the end of Friday.

NPR

'Ballot Selfies' Clash With The Sanctity Of Secret Polling

New Hampshire is the first state to outlaw voting booth selfies. Some call the ban unconstitutional and are challenging it in court. Others argue selfies compromise privacy and enable voter coercion.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.