Local officials blast congressional interference

The U.S. Capitol building at night. (photo by Prisca Lo Surdo)

A number of D.C. leaders, along with local and national groups, convened for a news conference Monday to address the continued threat of federal meddling in the city’s affairs — which some say is now heightened under the current presidential administration and Congress.

The speakers, including D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Mayor Muriel Bowser, pointed to “a record number of riders and threats of interference” to D.C. laws during this fiscal year’s budget process, according to a news release from Norton’s office.

In her remarks, Norton pointed specifically to legislative efforts to keep D.C. from spending local funds on abortions for low-income women and on commercializing marijuana; to repeal the District’s budget autonomy referendum; and to circumvent the city’s new Death with Dignity Act and a law regulating the labeling of wet wipes.

Norton also referred to the now-“ritual” attempts to subvert the city’s anti-discrimination laws and gun laws. In the latter case, she accused Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., of trying to “shamelessly exploit” the shooting of Congress members last month in Alexandria, Va., by introducing a bill that would “force D.C. to recognize out-of-state permits to carry concealed guns.”

With the last Congress, Norton said, the District successfully defeated 26 attempts to block or overturn local laws.

Groups participating in Monday’s conference included the American Civil Liberties Union, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, DC Vote, DC Water, the Marijuana Policy Project, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Water Environment Federation, among several others.