BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Ms. NORTON. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his support during his service in Congress for the District of Columbia.
Notwithstanding the way the D.C. budget is coming to the floor this year, I come to the floor to ask my colleagues for help. And I think each and every last one of you would be saying exactly what I'm saying if your own district was on the line.
I'm speaking for 618,000 innocent bystanders to this Federal food fight. They have raised $8 billion--more than four States--but they are not able to spend a dime of it as I speak because this Congress hasn't done its work, and they have no authority to spend their own local funds. They are living off of contingency funds that are fast running out. You are holding their local funds as if it were your money. It's our money.
The strategy of each side seems to deepen the city's crisis. The Republicans cherry-pick, but the health care bill is still on the table. The Democrats see that the public is on its side, so they don't have any incentive to move. The goals of each side are known, but neither has an exit strategy, and it is the District of Columbia that is hurting.
If the game plan is to keep this going until the debt ceiling in the middle of the month, please don't. Each day without an agreement is punishing millions of Americans and every single D.C. resident. Freeing D.C. leaves every bit of the strategy of each side in place because all the Federal funds are there.
The sin was requiring the local budget to come here in the first place. Don't compound that sin by simply throwing D.C. into the pile with Federal appropriations and pretending as if they were the same.
You have no right to pull a defenseless city into this Federal boxing match. You have no right to use the good name of the people of the District of Columbia alongside appropriations--no matter how wonderful they are. Those appropriations depend upon your funding. The $8 billion is our funding.
You have no right to leave our local budget sticking up like a sore thumb among the Federal appropriations. It's our money, not yours. Do not drive the Nation's Capital into crisis. Pass this bill. Free D.C. Please free the people of the District of Columbia.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT