DC For Obama Voters Outraged by Budget Deal

DC for Obama: President handed city over to Republicans

By Kelvin Robinson
|  Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011  |  Updated 1:09 PM EDT
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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray explains why he decided to protest long enough to get arrested Monday evening on the streets of D.C.

Barbara Harrison

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray explains why he decided to protest long enough to get arrested Monday evening on the streets of D.C.

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Raw Video: Mayor Gray Released From Jail

NBC Washington cameras were there shortly after 1 a.m. when Mayor Gray and some members of the City Council were released from police custody. They were being held at U.S. Capitol Police headquarters. When they were finally allowed out overnight, they were greeted by cheers and hugs. Police arrested Mayor Gray and 40 others during a protest outside the Hart Senate Office Building. They were upset after the federal budget compromise banned the city from spending its own funds.

Raw Video: Gray Speaks After Release From Jail

D.C. Mayor Gray speaks to NBC Washington's cameras after being released by the U.S. Capitol Police. The mayor and several city council members had been arrested about seven hours earlier while protesting on Capitol Hill.
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When Congress announced late Friday night that they had reached a deal on the budget, hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the country breathed a sigh of relief.

But when the details of the deal were revealed, many citizens in the nation’s capital cried foul. Now some of President Obama’s firmest supporters are questioning their loyalty.

As part of the deal, the city would be barred from using local tax funds to pay for abortions for low-income women. D.C. may also be banned from using money to fund needle exchange programs, which are though to be vital in curbing the threat of HIV, in a city where the disease is considered an epidemic.

DC for Obama, a group that touts itself with securing a win for Obama in the District (where he won 93 percent of the vote) and Virginia  (where he became the first Democrat to win the vote since 1964) said its members are outraged by the new budget deal.

The group’s outrage was echoed Monday when D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and several of the city council members were arrested in a protest against that budget deal.

“It should be easy to say the people of this city should be able to determine how to spend out money,” Gray said in an interview with NBC Washington’s Barbara Harrison.

DC for Obama said the president surrendered the city budget, which is ultimately controlled by Congress, to Republicans.

The group had been planning a campaign kickoff event later this month. Before the budget deal, there were 260 supporters registered.  Now, organizers say the event may be postponed indefinitely if the current deal passes.

Organizers say they may also turn the event into a strategy session to fight against the White House and Congress.

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