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Norton: D.C. Budget Autonomy Closer Than Ever

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Local leaders in D.C. say they're optimistic about a proposal on Capitol Hill to give the District budget autonomy. The move would let D.C. spend its local funds without congressional approval — a long held desire of D.C. voting rights activists. 

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) believes the city has never been closer to achieving budget autonomy, she told reporters at a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the committee that oversees District affairs, last year floated a plan to give D.C. budget autonomy.  

Although that proposal was ultimately nixed by District leaders because it would have banned publicly-funded abortions, Norton said she is encouraged that city leaders have been able to work with Republicans on Capitol Hill at all. 

"We are very close when you consider the support we have," she said. "When you have the chair of the committee of jurisdiction, when you have the majority leader of the House of Representatives, you can only be encouraged that we get budget autonomy this year." 

Meanwhile, Norton, Mayor Vincent Gray, and the group DC Vote are working in Congress to fend off so-called "social riders," provisions attached to federal spending plans that affect local policy in the District.

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