Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray confronted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over the government shutdown following a press conference on the Capitol Steps Wednesday.
The Washington Post explains how the tense exchange unfolded:
“Sir, we are not a department of the government,” Gray told Reid after concluding his news event and then crashing another about 50 yards away, where Reid and other Senate Democrats were talking to reporters. “We’re simply trying to be able to spend our own money.”
Reid (Nev.) responded defensively in front of a bank of cameras and reporters: “I’m on your side. Don’t screw it up, okay? Don’t screw it up.”
The tension came after the Republican-controlled House voted last week to pass a bill allowing the District to use its locally raised tax funds to maintain operations until Dec. 15. Democrats, including Reid and President Obama, have held fast in opposition to piecemeal funding bills, saying Republicans must come to a deal to fund the entire government, not just favored segments.
Gray’s confrontational style could have something to do with the fact that Democrats opposed a stand-alone District funding bill. Congress reportedly controls all District appropriations. Now, in a rare occurrence, local and national politicians in the nation’s Capitol are at odds.
The District has been operating using contingency reserve funds, but Gray says the funds are running out and could soon impact the city’s transportation infrastructure, utilities and schools.
Thus far, the District has continued operating through the use of contingency reserve funds, but Mr. Gray noted that those funds are dwindling and could have effects on the city’s transportation infrastructure, its utilities and its schools.
(H/T: Washington Times)
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