WASHINGTON - Home rule is an issue District of Columbia leaders have fought to get for years. The city wants to spend the money it generates without getting congressional approval first.
But on Wednesday, a post from House Speaker Paul Ryan's press office addressed the issue saying the city must get congressional approval on any money it wants to spend.
The D.C. Council passed a law in 2012 that would amend the D.C. Home Rule Act and give the District more autonomy. But Ryan's office said not so fast as a new House proposal would keep the city's budget in check.
The post from Speaker Ryan's press office said, "The current DC government is running fast and loose with the Constitution." It also said, "The DC government wants to use revenues to fund abortions in the District."
On Thursday at Ryan's press availability, FOX 5 asked him about this act that would remove D.C.’s ability to allot funds without congressional approval. Was this really about the Constitution or was it also or more importantly about abortion funding?
“It's about the Constitution,” Ryan responded.
We then spoke with Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who represents the District of Columbia. We asked her if it is unconstitutional for Washington D.C. to appropriate funds without congressional approval.
“It is by no means unconstitutional,” she said. “Speaker Ryan gave you the easy and wrong answer. He was more candid yesterday, and in fact, more insulting and deprecating to the residents of the District of Columbia when he said that the District of Columbia needed to be reined in. As if we were children, not American citizens, fully equal.”
Norton said she does not believe the bill will pass in the Senate.