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Norton Statement on D.C. Council Lawsuit on Budget Autonomy Referendum


Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) made the following statement on today's announcement that the District of Columbia Council has filed suit against the D.C. Mayor and Chief Financial Officer seeking a court order that the budget autonomy referendum approved by D.C. voters in 2013 is valid and compelling enforcement.

"The right of D.C. residents to control their own local budget is now a matter for the courts to decide," said Norton. "Nevertheless, I will continue our work to head off any efforts by Congress to block or overturn the D.C. budget autonomy referendum, pending a final court decision, as we have continued to make progress in moving our budget autonomy bill, which has bipartisan, bicameral support here in Congress and from the President. District residents approved the budget autonomy referendum with 83% of the vote only after Congress had refused to act for years and only after near-D.C. government shutdowns. The Mayor and the Council each have felt compelled to take decisive action to clarify an unprecedented legal situation, rather than incur the risks associated with the continuing uncertainty. However, there should be no mistaking the Council's action for the usual adversarial lawsuit. Today's action is friendly litigation and a classic use of the declaratory judgment vehicle. All the parties are in strong agreement that D.C. is entitled to budget autonomy, a central feature of democratic self-government in our country."

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