WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 26: U.S. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) smiles answers questions from reporters after a news conference on Capitol Hill February 26, 2009 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Senate earlier passed the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Congress has apparently avoided a government shutdown by agreeing in principle to a budget through next September.
For many, that’s good news. But for Eleanor Holmes Norton, one particular piece of the deal represents yet another slap in the District’s face.
D.C.’s nonvoting Congressional delegate released a statement attacking a rider attached to the bill that forbids the District from using its own money to fund abortion services for low-income women.
“We will never be satisfied as long as there is a single prohibition on D.C.’s use of its local funds,” Norton's statement said in part. “It is especially ironic that the final sticking point in the negotiations on the conference report was how to promote democracy in Cuba while the bill tramples on democracy in the ‘capital of the free world’ with a rider keeping its residents from spending their own local funds on abortion services for low-income women."
However, Norton did commend Congress for funding three of her top priorities in the spending bill: The District of Columbia Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG) program, the Department of Homeland Security headquarters, and additional funding for HIV/AIDS prevention in the District.
The deal was passed by the House of Representatives Friday night and passed the Senate Saturday morning.