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Really?

[ 29 ] April 10, 2011 |

The Democrats signed off on this as part of their vaunted compromise rolling over and playing dead?  The following is buried at the end of the NYT story linked above:

District of Columbia officials expressed outrage on Saturday about two provisions of the budget deal between Democrats and Republicans, saying they dictate how the capital should spend money. One bans it from using its own locally raised funds to pay for abortions for poor women. The second is a federally financed school voucher program, which city officials said was unnecessary because 40 percent of students already go to public charter schools.

I’m stunned.  I shouldn’t be, but I am.

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  • Murc

    DC is sort of the symbolic punching bag in fights like these, which would be funny if, y’know, real people weren’t involved.

    The rationale here on the part of the Dems is probably ‘well, geez, DC is just one city, and its a tiny one at that. It takes my driver like three minutes to get to the Capitol once we enter city limits! How many people could this possibly affect? We don’t have any caucus members from it who matter to get offended… no Senators… its inconsequential in Presidential elections… and none of my constituents are likely to even hear about this. Do we wanna spend three days arguing over it? Let the baby have its bottle.’

    That’s actually the charitable interpretation. The less charitable one is that the few people who were even aware of these provisions simply did not care.

    • efgoldman

      …the few people who were even aware of these provisions…

      Key phrase, methinks.

      Still no excuse.

    • Oscar Leroy

      Funny how people end up hearing about things that people say they probably won’t end up hearing about.

      Of course, even if there is little chance of any one bad decision getting a wide hearing, make enough bad decisions and soon a straw breaks the camel’s back. Hence Obama’s plummeting approval numbers.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        What plummeting approval numbers? He’s been hovering just under 50% for months.

      • Anonymous

        Can you point to these plummeting numbers? I’m not saying Obama’s a lock to re-election or anything (though I’d bet pretty heavily on it given the GOP field- at worst he’s going to be looking at a Harry Reid situation where despite his unpopularity he’s returned to office due to the general loathsomeness of his opponent) but as far as I can tell Obama’s numbers if one examines an aggregate are largely stable and have been for a year or more softly floating between 42 and 51 %.

      • Michael H Schneider
  • ema

    The new baseline for any political deal between Republicans and Democrats: Some poor women of reproductive age must be denied access to proper medical care.

    • DrDick

      Where some=(a quantity between most and all).

      • ema

        Patience DrDick, so many more deals to be made, so many more poor women to be abused.

        • DrDick

          That is what I am afraid of. Our compassionate elites seem to have declared all out war on women, children, the elderly, and the poor.

  • LosGatosCA

    If it wasn’t for Sarah Palin, most Americans would have to face the stunning drop in the national IQ.

    I’m almost certain that the Iranians have been putting lead chips in all brands of chewing gum since 1979.

  • Anonymous

    I honestly don’t get why DC isn’t funded via the kind of block grants the GOP wants the states to get- is there any doubt it would be the case if “the wrong kind of people” didn’t run the city (simmer down I don’t necessarily mean Black people I could mean Democrats).

    • Murc

      Lots of Anonymous today.

      And DC isn’t funded that way because it isn’t useful for Congress to do so. It’s ‘just’ one city, so it can be used as a chew toy. If you can’t convince your colleagues in the Congress to inflict your pet agenda on the whole country, you can get it done to just one powerless city, either as a symbol or as an experiment. This is useful to Congress, and they wouldn’t be able to do that if they just gave DC a ton of cash and said ‘we’ll rubber-stamp all other decisions.’

      This, of course, can’t be done to the states, because of the Constitution and because states have actual constituencies that have to be listened to. DC is just a whole lot of disenfranchised people, so who cares?

  • Anonymous

    Its actually a bit odd considering how one of Obama’s real stands on this deal was the Planned Parenthood-Title X funding provision (and this is according to all sides)- then again President after President DC is basically screwed because it has millions of people but no electoral power.

  • Anonymous

    Admittedly DC is only slightly larger than Wyoming but still it should at least garner a voting Representative.

    • wengler

      Wyoming has a US Representative, 2 Senators, a Governor, and a bicameral legislature.

      The people who live in Washington DC are Americans. They deserve no less than any other American.

  • Joe

    Why are you stunned? Seriously.

    D.C. is a federal area. If abortions were paid for, it would mean federal funds would be used for abortion. It doesn’t matter if it somehow takes donations or something. The same applies to federal run clinics. If “local” funds were used, no abortions either. We are told repeatedly how no federal funds are being used for abortions. The fact the funds come “locally” doesn’t change this. I find the whole thing moronic, but come on, this is totally unsurprising.

    The voucher program is really unsurprising. I have no idea if the locals are right that the money is unnecessary. But, why even reference that? Why is it surprising that some conservative program is tossed in that many Dems are okay with anyways?

    • dave brockington

      It is not federal money, per se, that they’re blocking; it’s locally-raised revenue which are not part of the federal budget. It’s a bit of a stretch to argue that since the District is under federal control all revenues are “federal”. In fact, it’s not a stretch, it’s just wrong. To my knowledge, the Hyde Amendment had never been invoked to regulate municipal expenditures in the district. Municipal revenues raised in the city of Seattle are not State of Washington monies; funds raised by the municipality of DC are not federal money.

      The charter thing wasn’t left in there to make a point — it was part of the paragraph. I placed the sentence regarding abortion in bold to highlight its centrality to my post.

      • hv

        That’s why one always says “emphasis added.”

        It puzzles the trolls just long enough so that they will actually think for a moment.

        • Joe

          Yes, I thought a post that commented about lack of local control that left in a comment about local control was part of the point. Not the only point.

          • hv

            For the purposes of enforcing the abortion funding ban, the text of the bill says: “The term `Federal Government’ includes the government of the District of Columbia.” A spokeswoman for D.C. Vote, which advocates for District voting rights, said in a statement that the group “sees this as the beginning of an attempt to take-over DC and undermine or roll back the provisions of the Home Rule Charter.”

            (link)

            Forgive my pessimism, but it is hard to imagine that someone who has to be convinced that an issue even exists is going to offer valuable insights into that issue.

      • Sharon

        They tossed the charter funds in as a sop to the Speaker. It was one of his pet programs.

      • Joe

        When segregation was at issue in D.C., there was a local option involved, but it was considered a “federal” matter. So, I really don’t know strange it would be for me to assume that local funds would be considered “federal.”

        And, looking online, actually, this is not something just tossed in. It was included multiple times since at least the 1990s:

        http://dcvote.org/media/media.cfm?mediaID=3713

        I realize the emphasis highlighted something but as other comments suggest, it does seem that local control overall was part of the point. If you wanted to note one thing, quoting two is a tad confusing.

        • hv

          Obama & the Dems aren’t full of big talk about how they won’t back down on school charters, right? There are more clues to the issue here than just the high-lighting…

          If they pass legislation that redefines all of DC as federal, thereby kicking in the Hyde amendment for local funds, kinda makes all the pro-abortion grandstanding seem a little shady.

          Yes, ok, it has been done before; it’s the surrounding big talk that grates on me the most.

    • Urban Garlic

      I protest, at least formally.

      There is nothing obviously “Federal” about the taxes I pay to the District government. Operationally, they are exactly like the taxes congressionally-represented Americans pay to their states. The rates are set by the council members I elect to District government, and they are at least nominally accountable in the same way — I can vote out my ward council member or the mayor.

      The fact that District-collected taxes are rolled into the Federal budget and then re-appropriated back to District government, and that a House committee (not even all of Congress, just the House!) usually dictates the re-appropriation, and can block District laws, is an outrage to many District residents, and an embarrassment to just about everyone who actually knows about it.

      With a Republican-dominated house, many more people will likely learn about it. After the election, there was some apparently-serious talk of repealing the District’s gun control laws, recent gay-marriage laws, and of course reproductive rights protections, by simple House committee fiat. They didn’t, but they do have that authority under the constitution.

      This is why it says “Taxation without representation” on our license plates.

  • Anonymous

    But remember, girls, vote for the Democrats or else you’ll lose your access to safe reproductive health care!

    Lolsob.

    Every time the Dems call asking for money or asking for my vote, I tell them they can stick it somewhere unpleasant on themselves, because maybe–just maybe–then they’ll start to understand how unpleasant it is to have government shoved up such places.

    • chris

      Every time the Dems call asking for money or asking for my vote, I tell them they can stick it somewhere unpleasant on themselves, because maybe–just maybe–then they’ll start to understand how unpleasant it is to have government shoved up such places.

      Ironically, it is only because of such attitudes displayed in 2010 that John Boehner is in a position to extract such a concession in the first place. It certainly isn’t anything the Democrats would have done on their own initiative.

      John Boehner thanks you for your lack of understanding of two-party politics.

      • Ed

        There is no reason why this particular concession should be an inevitable result of 2010. In fact, it seems all too evitable.