A Florida congressman ticked off District officials Thursday when he compared the city’s push for budget autonomy to teenagers wanting more independence.
"When my kids were young -- teenagers -- they wanted budget autonomy, too," Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said on WTTG-TV. "You allow them to go their own way. When they get out of line, according to the Constitution, the Congress has the right to step in."
Mayor Vincent Gray’s office wasn’t having it, and quipped back with this response: (via the Washington Examiner)
"To compare the District to children is both absurd and arrogant," said Pedro Ribeiro, Mayor Vincent Gray's spokesman. "Last time I checked, children don't have a $6 billion local budget."
The good news for D.C. is that there doesn’t appear to be any plan in Congress to derail a charter amendment that would grant the District more budget autonomy. Voters overwhelmingly approved Tuesday to put this referendum on the ballot.
If Congress seeks to block the measure -- which allows the city to spend its own local tax dollars without congressional approval and to set its own fiscal calendar -- legislators would have to pass their own resolution of disapproval in both the House and the Senate and have the bill signed by the president, who in the past has expressed his support for budget autonomy.
“We’re hopeful that Congress will uphold the District voters’ desire to have budget autonomy,” said Pedro Ribeiro, spokesman for D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray.
IN OTHER NEWS:
* Metro approved its $2.7 billion budget this week with no fare hikes. (Washington Post)
* Gray says he is developing a plan to shield the city’s hospitals, doctors and other medical providers from the financial pain caused by the collapse of D.C. Chartered Health Plan Inc. (Washington Business Journal)
* Paul Zukerberg, who finished fifth in the District’s special election this week, says he’s considering another run for office next year. (Washington Post)
* There may be a connection between Gov. Martin O’Malley’s presidential ambitions and lower health insurance premiums for Maryland residents. (Washington Business Journal)
* O’Malley is expected to sign the death penalty repeal into law May 2, making Maryland the 18th state to outlaw the punishment. (Capital Gazette)
* Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will launch the first TV ad of the commonwealth's gubernatorial campaign with an ad airing statewide Monday. (Washington Post)
* Cuccinelli's opponent, Terry McAuliffe, says if he’s elected governor he’ll ban gifts of $100 or more to a governor or his family. He says he’d accomplish this first through an executive order, and then try to get the General Assembly to change the law so it applies to legislatures as well. (Virginian-Pilot)
* A breakdown of the District’s metro map along socioeconomic lines. (Washington City Paper)