House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) vowed Thursday to keep pressing for budget autonomy for the District, one day after city leaders rejected his proposal that would have coupled more spending freedom with a ban on government-funded abortions.
Issa’s bill would allow the city to start spending its own money as soon as the D.C. Council and mayor approved a budget, and would also make permanent a temporary ban on the city paying for abortions except in cases of incest, rape or to protect the life of the mother. That prohibition is backed by most Republicans but strongly opposed by local leaders.
The measure was tentatively scheduled to be considered Thursday by the House committee, but was deleted from the agenda after a trio of Democrats, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.), declared their opposition.
The action marked the second time in as many years that District officials have declined to accept less local control in one area in exchange for more freedom in another. In 2010, Democratic leaders in Congress shelved a plan to give the city a voting member in the House because gun rights supporters planned to attach language weakening the city’s gun laws.