Federal Budget Gives DC Autonomy, Funds
Published: Friday, February 18, 2011
Updated: Friday, February 18, 2011 04:02
Funding for District programs hangs in the balance as negotiations for the 2012 fiscal budget continue this month.
President Obama's budget proposal, which was released on Feb. 14, allotted funds to the District to support job creation, the public and charter school systems and the Metro transit system. The budget would also support for Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton's (D-D.C.) home rule objective, which calls for allowing the D.C. budget to be passed without congressional review, according to a Feb. 14 press release from Norton's office.
"The president's budget focuses directly on our highest priorities, largely preserving our federal funding for jobs, education and Metro in particular," Norton said in the press release.
The budget also increases funds for higher education. It provides $2.5 million for the Community College of the District of Columbia and $35 million for the District's Tuition Assistance Grant program, which provides District residents with grants to attend state and private schools. Since its launch in 2000, DCTAG has helped double college attendance in the District, according to the D.C. government website.
"The funds for DCTAG are indispensible for our students in college and those who will go next year at a time when the jobs in this region increasingly require college training," Norton said in the release.
Other provisions would continue funding for HIV/AIDS prevention programs, the local court system, the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority and create a $5 million grant for local non-profit art organizations.
But Republicans in the House are looking to cut District spending in an attempt to save federal funds. Last week the GOP proposed a spending resolution that would remove $80 million worth of federal payments to the District, according to The Washington Post.
Targeted budgets would include the District's public school system, the "Reconnecting Disconnected Youth" program and a controversial needle exchange program, among others. Local officials are especially worried about additional cuts that would remove $150 million of funding from Metro over the next eight months, according to The Washington Post.