Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., sent a letter to House Republican leadership Tuesday asking that she be granted a vote on the House floor in the 114th Congress.
Currently, Norton can vote in committee, but she does not have a vote on the House floor or Committee of the Whole. The District of Columbia delegate, other delegates and Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner were granted floor votes in the 103rd, 110th and 111th Congresses, when Democrats had the majority. They could vote in the Committee of the Whole, as long as their votes were not decisive. Full story
“I’m not trying to defy anybody. I’m responsible for transmitting the initiative,” Mendelson said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I have a very clear requirement in the Home Rule Act to transmit the legislation. Congress has the ability to step in when that legislation is transmitted, so I don’t see anything that’s provocative here and I certainly don’t intend any provocation.” Full story
Harris, who sponsored the rider, is developing a response if D.C. moves forward with Initiative 71. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
District of Columbia officials and activists are grappling with a new thorn in their sides: an amendment attached to a year-end spending package targeting marijuana legalization in the District.
The “cromnibus” was passed by Congress with last-minute and late-night Senate votes over the weekend, and is en route to the president, where it will be signed into law. Though the bill contains riders in the bill aimed at a variety of D.C. social policies now considered routine, an amendment aimed at the District’s marijuana policy has fired up D.C. activists. Full story
Is it legal or not? D.C.’s top law enforcement officer won’t say. (Hannah Hes/CQ Roll Call)
Interim District of Columbia Attorney General Eugene Adams has still not determined the implications of an appropriations rider targeting marijuana legalization in the District.
“The Office of the D.C. Attorney General is continuing to actively review the legislation,” the statement, released on Friday, said, “and will continue through the Senate legislative process and President’s signature on the budget bill to assess how it may provide District policymakers opportunities to implement the will of the people reflected in Initiative 71.” Full story
Activists are making a final lobbying push Friday to rally senators to oppose a rider targeting marijuana legalization in the District of Columbia that was attached to the year-end spending package “cromnibus.”
“As the attention moves to the Senate, it is important that supporters of D.C. democracy let senators know that we will not accept an act by Congress that reverses the will of the people,” DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry wrote in an email to supporters. Perry was referring to a rider that could block an initiative passed by nearly two-thirds of D.C. voters in November, which legalizes possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana. Full story
Protesters shut down Maryland Avenue Northeast. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)
The pro-pot group protesting Congress’ intervention into local marijuana policy did not cause an uproar on Capitol grounds Wednesday night, but they did clash with a congressman.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, riding with his chief of staff in a black sedan, encountered a few of the most antagonistic individuals on Maryland Avenue Northeast. About two dozen demonstrators, mostly associated with the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, were blocking traffic following a brief protest at the Heritage Foundation’s nearby headquarters.
As the “cromnibus” careened in fits and starts on Thursday’s alleged get-out-of-town day, advocates for the District of Columbia got the latest in series of jabs, this time not even warranting a mention in the White House Statement of Administrative Policy.
The White House SAP on the end-of-year spending package stated that while President Barack Obama “objects to the inclusion of ideological and special interest riders in the House bill,” he would not veto it. The insult-to-injury aspect of it for D.C.? No mention of the rider Republicans inserted and Democrats acquiesced to that would block legalization of marijuana, per an initiative D.C. voters overwhelmingly approved in November.
A rider changing the Dodd-Frank law on derivatives? That was cited in the SAP. So was the rider allowing increased contributions from individuals to political parties. But no mention of the D.C. rider.
Top Democrats in the House, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, are aligning with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s interpretation of an anti-marijuana rider attached to the end-of-the-year spending package.
Norton contends the language in the rider does not block a referendum passed by an overwhelming number of District voters that legalizes possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana. According to a Pelosi spokesman, the California Democrat agrees with Norton’s interpretation of the rider. Full story
Updated 4:45 p.m. | Just hours after news broke that the House and Senate spending package included a rider targeting the District of Columbia’s marijuana policy, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., raised questions as to how the rider’s specific language would actually affect the District.
The rider prohibits federal and local funds from being used “to enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or reduce penalties associated with the possession, use or distribution” of marijuana in D.C. Full story
The District will have to grapple with a new marijuana rider. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Congress would block the District of Columbia from legalizing marijuana for recreational use, but preserve its decriminalization law, under the spending package released Tuesday night.
In the D.C. appropriations section, which allocates $680 million of federal funds to the District, is an amendment barring federal and local funds from being used “to enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or reduce penalties associated with the possession, use or distribution” of marijuana. The language would ban the city from enacting Referendum 71, a ballot initiative overwhelmingly approved by voters in November. Full story
Campus Reporter Bridget Bowman (@bridgetbhc) keeps her eye what's happening on and around the Hill. She covers local elections, the Capitol Hill community, House and Senate administration, legislative agencies and congressional oversight over the District of Columbia.
Leadership Reporter Hannah Hess (@ha_nah_nah) covers law enforcement and ethics investigations, acting as a watchdog of both chambers of Congress. Her beat includes Capitol Police and the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms.