DC Laws Are On the Republican Controlled Congress Chopping Block Again

Every woman in American knows how it feels to have her family planning and reproductive healthcare choices vetoed by a bunch of privileged white men in Congress.
Anyone who is a permanent resident of the District of Columbia, knows the frustration that comes with every law and every budget passed by our elected City Council being subjected to the ideological preferences of Republicans from every state in the United States.

This week, women living in DC experienced both of these frustrations. This is part of the political reality if you live in the nation’s capital.

Our delegate to the House of Representatives doesn’t get a vote on laws that affect all of us. Yet, every local issue is subject to scrutiny by members of congress from every state in the Union.

This week, the House of Representatives passed several measures effectively vetoing several laws voted on by DC City Council. They include a rider repealing our Death with Dignity Law, which made it legal for DC doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients who request it. Also on the Republican controlled House’s chopping block: DC using city funds to finance abortions for women living in poverty and a DC law taxing and regulating the sale of marijuana.

Finally, the House passed a measure forbidding the DC City Council from using local DC tax dollars to enforce a law that prohibits employers from discriminating against workers and members of their families who use birth control, got an abortion or any other healthcare decision. It was passed in 2014 and those freedom- and local government-loving Republicans have been trying to defund it ever since.

The measure to block this law which affects residents and businesses of Washington, DC only was introduced by Rep. Gary Palmer – a Republican who lives in Alabama. It passed by a vote of 214-194 – mostly along partisan lines. If you’re wondering why Washington, DC is the most liberal and most Democratic city in America with an electorate that is 90% Democratic, much of it has to do with the fact that we know Republicans no more care about keeping politics local than Donald Trump cares about his base’s concerns.

It’s worth noting that because this is part of the Federal appropriations process, it’s possible these measures won’t survive. Most of the time, however, they do. Republicans may not agree on how badly to screw people out of healthcare, but they can always get together to kill laws affecting people who live in DC and they can always agree on how we should spend our local tax dollars.

Imagine if every measure your city and town passed was subject to review by the House, the Senate and the President. While WAMU refers to the specific measure about the nondiscrimination law, this process applies to any law and any budget provision passed by DC City Council.

There are still a number of hoops that the amendment needs to pass through before it effectively blocks D.C.’s non-discrimination law. House and Senate leaders would need to agree to include it in the final version of the appropriations bill, which must be passed by the Senate by Dec. 8. That bill would also need to be signed by President Donald Trump.

It doesn’t end with Republicans from Alabama, or Utah or any other red state trying to impose Republican ideology on DC where the electorate is 90% Democrat.

Donald Trump hasn’t bothered to consult with DC delegate Holmes-Norton Eleanor Holmes-Norton or local officials on Federal judicial appointments to the DC circuit. He does consult with Senators from red and blue states so this isn’t about Trump’s typical hyper-partisanship.

After the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday voted to advance Dabney Langhorne Friedrich’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to the full Senate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said she would continue to seek consultation on federal law enforcement nominees in D.C. Despite repeated requests, the Trump administration has continued to make nominations without consulting Norton. The Trump administration has not made any nominations for federal district courts in states with a Democratic senator, yet has made four nominations for the federal district court in D.C.

As explained by Delegate Holmes-Norton https://norton.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/norton-says-trump-administration-has-nominated-four-judges-for-dc in her press release:

On behalf of D.C. residents, I must continue to seek some consultation or to call out the Trump administration for breaking with Republican precedent by making nominations for federal judges and other law enforcement officers in the District without consultation. We cannot let the Trump Administration disrespect D.C. residents on critical law enforcement positions without a fight.

This is what life is like when your voice is silenced, be it by virtue of living in DC at any time during the past 200+ years of the great American experiment or by virtue of vote suppression in any state. In this America, privileged white men are the only people with voices.

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