Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said today she is pleased that the House Appropriations Committee followed its Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government in funding many of her top priorities in the fiscal year 2013 D.C. appropriations bill it approved today, especially the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG) program for thousands of D.C. students in college or enrolling, the startup of development on the St. Elizabeths East Campus in Ward 8, and additional funds for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention efforts in the District. The Congresswoman remains deeply disappointed that the Appropriations bill was introduced with an embedded rider banning D.C. from spending its own local funds on abortion services for low-income women. "Unlike the Senate, which has respected home rule, House Republicans' insistence on restricting how any local jurisdiction spends funds raised exclusively by that jurisdiction contradicts their own often-stated federalist principles and more seriously the founding principle of local democratic control. The intrusion into the lives of the city's low-income women deprives them of constitutional rights all other women in every district in the United States exercise with impunity," Norton said. "I am particularly grateful to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) for proposing an amendment removing the rider, and for her eloquence, and to Ranking Member Jose Serrano (D-NY) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) for speaking up for the rights of our city and its low-income women. At the same time, I am very grateful to Subcommittee Chairwoman Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) and Ranking Member Serrano for their work in funding the District's priorities during a difficult budget year." Going forward, Norton will work with the Senate and a coalition of more than 100 organizations working to keep the abortion rider out of the final bill."
The bill provides $30 million for DCTAG, the same amount approved for the current fiscal year. Norton will work with Senators to ensure that the full $35.1 million requested by the President and approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee ends up in the final bill. The bill also includes $24.7 million for emergency planning and security costs associated with national events and demonstrations in the District, at least $9.8 million of which will cover costs associated with next year's presidential inauguration. D.C. public and public charter schools would receive $20 million each under the House bill; $375,000 for tuition for D.C. National Guard soldiers; $9.8 million to jump start development on the East Campus at St. Elizabeths in Ward 8; and $5 million for HIV/AIDS testing, treatment, and prevention for D.C. residents.