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Judge Rules Against DC Council in Budget Autonomy Fight

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The D.C. Council wants to spend money without approval from Congress. News4's Tom Sherwood explains why a a federal judge was skeptical about the idea. (Published Wednesday, May 14, 2014)

    A judge has ruled against the D.C. Council in their fight with Mayor Vincent Gray over how the city spends its money.

    District Judge Emmet Sullivan called the Council's Budget Autonomy Act of 2012 "unlawful," adding that the court was "powerless to provide a legal remedy" despite the District's 40-year fight for budget autonomy.

    Since the 1970s, the District has sent its entire budget – now about $11 billion -- to Congress every year for approval, but the Council recently backed a law and referendum exempting about $6 billion in local money from that congressional review.

    Gray called the maneuver illegal and refused to enforce it, so Council Chairman Phil Mendelson sued Gray.

    The law, if it had been upheld, would have allowed the District to spend its local tax and fee revenue without seeking approval from Congress.

    The Council was due to start acting under the new law in just two weeks.

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