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Norton Warns Gray of Possible Government Shutdown

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Norton Warns Gray of Possible Gov't Shutdown

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A sign hangs in the window of an information booth Saturday, Dec. 16, 1995, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington announcing the temporary closure of the attraction due to a government shutdown.

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It's that time of year -- time to worry about a possible federal and D.C. government shutdown.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said she alerted Mayor Vincent Gray Tuesday that Congress might not pass a new spending bill before the current resolution expires Friday night.  As of Tuesday, Congress had yet to pass nine of the 12 fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills, including the one that approves D.C.'s local budget.

In case you forgot, the District cannot spend its own money without approval by Congress. So if the federal government shuts down, there's a good chance D.C.'s government would, too.

While all signs point to Congress meeting the midnight Friday deadline, there's always a chance that compromise will collapse.

"The mayor and I had this same conversation in April, when the city came within an hour of being forced to shut down over a federal spending fight, which, remarkably, was averted in part by the re-imposition of the D.C. abortion rider," Norton said in a statement. "Between D.C. riders and several shutdown threats this year, the need for budget autonomy has never been clearer."

Norton said House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa’s budget autonomy proposal would prevent future D.C. shutdowns by allowing the District's budget to take effect without congressional approval.

But the bill contained an anti-home-rule rider (it included a ban on using local funds to pay for abortions) and others would have been added as it moved through the Hill, making it impossible to accept, according to Norton.  She said Issa has committed to working with the District on his proposal.

For more on Issa's views on D.C.'s ability to govern itself, read this interesting article in Roll Call.

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