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February 28, 2015

Posts in "DC-Hill Relations"

February 26, 2015

Kerry Bentivolio Files for Bankruptcy

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fewer than two months after the Santa Claus impersonator and reindeer farmer who represented southeast Michigan for one term left Congress, the tea party-inspired Republican has filed for bankruptcy.

Former Rep. Kerry Bentivolio listed more than $294,000 in liabilities in documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on Monday. Bentivolio, 63, owes nearly $55,000 to two Michigan-based law firms, and has been ordered to pay $120,000 in a case stemming from an illegal campaign claim from his former consultant. Full story

February 25, 2015

D.C. Stands Up to Congress on Marijuana Legalization (Updated)

Updated 5:41 p.m. | As of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the District of Columbia will legalize marijuana, despite warnings from two congressional Republicans that doing so would break the law and could lead to possible prison time for D.C. officials.

“Our government is prepared to implement and enforce Initiative 71 in the District of Columbia,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a briefing Wednesday, where D.C. officials presented a united front against congressional opposition. Bowser was joined by District Attorney General Karl Racine, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier and eight members of the D.C. Council, including Chairman Phil Mendelson. Full story

Congress Investigating D.C. Marijuana Legalization

Chaffetz is the chairman of House Oversight and Government Reform, which has jurisdiction over D.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo).

Chaffetz is the chairman of House Oversight and Government Reform, which has jurisdiction over D.C. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One day before the District of Columbia is set to legalize marijuana, members of Congress are launching an investigation into D.C.’s decision to do so, and warning that implementing legalization would break the law.

“If you decide to move forward tomorrow with the legalization of marijuana in the District, you will be doing so in knowing and willful violation of the law,” House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., wrote in a letter sent to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser early Wednesday morning.

Full story

February 13, 2015

No New Confidence in Metro After Hearing on L’Enfant Incident

Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., conducts a House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations hearing in Rayburn on marijuana laws in the District. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mica grilled Metro and D.C. Fire authorities on the Jan. 12 incident. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite intense scrutiny from lawmakers and federal safety regulators in the month since the deadly Metro incident that sent dozens of riders to the hospital and resulted in one death, local transit and public safety officials haven’t convinced passengers that the Jan. 12 emergency couldn’t happen again.

After 75 minutes of testimony and questioning, members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee put the spotlight on Jonathan Rogers, a witness to the Metro chaos, who captured video from within the train and worked with fellow passengers to administer CPR to Carol I. Glover, the 61-year-old woman who died of acute respiratory failure due to smoke exposure. Full story

February 12, 2015

Bowser Talks Metro and Marijuana on Capitol Hill

Bowser met with members of Congress Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bowser met with members of Congress Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two weeks after meeting with Speaker John A. Boehner, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser was back on Capitol Hill Thursday to meet with Democratic leaders and others to discuss D.C. issues, including Metro funding, marijuana legalization and autonomy.

Bowser told CQ Roll Call after her discussion with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that the meetings were part of an ongoing effort to foster relationships on Capitol Hill. She also met with Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, D-S.C. and the leaders of the Oversight subcommittee with jurisdiction over D.C. “Our focus has been on creating new relationships between the mayor and members of the Congress,” Bowser said. “And so I just wanted to let Leader Pelosi know that our door is open.” Full story

February 11, 2015

D.C. Metro Hearing to Address L’Enfant Incident and Broader Problems

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members of Congress will examine the safety of the capital region’s Metro system this week to let local and federal transportation officials know Congress is keeping an eye on the response to the deadly incident at the L’Enfant Plaza metro stop in January.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing Friday titled, “D.C. Metro: Is There a Safety Gap?” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. — chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, which focuses on D.C. issues — told CQ Roll Call he will also be meeting with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser the day before the hearing. A Bowser administration official said they set up the meeting “well before Friday’s hearing was scheduled.” Full story

February 9, 2015

Hearing or Discussion? D.C. Council Event Underscores Marijuana Dispute With Congress

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Though some legal confusion surrounds the fate of the District of Columbia’s marijuana legalization initiative, the D.C. Council defied Congress Monday by discussing a system to regulate the tax and sale of marijuana.

As if to underscore the legal issues surrounding the matter, the D.C. Council held a roundtable discussion  not a formal hearing  on the “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2015,” which would set up a structure to regulate selling and taxing marijuana. The legislation has essentially zero chance of becoming law soon, because Congress passed an appropriations rider as part of its year-end spending package barring D.C. from using federal and local funds to enact any legislation to reduce penalties for marijuana possession, use or distribution. Full story

February 2, 2015

Obama’s Budget Includes D.C. Marijuana, Budget Autonomy Provisions (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:49 p.m. | President Barack Obama waded into the debate about marijuana legalization in the District of Columbia, as well as budget and legislative autonomy, with a few provisions tucked into the fiscal 2016 budget proposal released Monday.

The proposal expands the District’s ability to set its own budget and spend local funds, rolling back sections of Congress’ 2015 spending package  that targeted social policies in D.C., particularly the city-wide initiative that would legalize the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana. Full story

January 30, 2015

5 Potential Scenarios for D.C.’s Marijuana Initiative

What's next for marijuana in D.C.? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What’s next for marijuana in D.C.? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The ongoing battle over the District of Columbia’s marijuana policy is currently at a standstill, but several scenarios over the coming weeks could alter its fate.

In November, 70 percent of D.C. voters approved Initiative 71, legalizing the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana. But Congress moved to block the initiative by attaching a rider to the year-end spending package 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.” Full story

January 28, 2015

Heritage Action Urges Congress to Reject D.C. Bills

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Heritage Action for America, a conservative advocacy group, is calling on Congress to reject two District of Columbia Council bills, which, the group argues, infringe upon religious liberty. It is the first time the group has weighed in on a District initiative.

“The D.C. government is forcing religious organizations and employers to choose between upholding their beliefs or complying with a coercive government regulation that requires them to violate their beliefs and missions,” Michael Needham, the group’s CEO, said in a statement Tuesday. “Heritage Action urges Congress to use its constitutional authority to disapprove of these intrusive and flawed laws.” Full story

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