D.C. Budget Approval Process Still Controversial

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says she is going forward with a controversial way of getting Congress to approve the city’s 2016 budget.

She also wants a lawsuit over the issue thrown out.

Bowser and the D.C. Council think the District has the authority to spend its own money after voters passed a budget autonomy referendum in 2013. Unlike past years, they contend the city budget now automatically goes into effect -- unless Congress specifically votes to stop it or amend it.

But the city's chief financial officer disagrees, saying he can't write any checks without formal congressional approval.

In a court filing, Bowser said she intends to move forward unless a court orders her not to do so.

House Republicans leaders say congress could force the city to submit its budget for approval as required since home rule began in 1973.

"The District of Columbia will continue to send its budget to Congress," Michael Czin, a communications director for Bowser, said Wednesday. "On Monday, the Mayor joined the Council in a lawsuit in support of Budget Autonomy. If we win the case, the budget will be sent to Congress just like all other District legislation, but it will be decoupled from the larger federal budget process."

This story has been corrected from a previous version.

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