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Time for the President and Harry Reid to Agree to Free D.C.

I support the President and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in their effort to stand up against the outrageousness of the Republican party. I agree that there should be no negotiation before Speaker Boehner (R-OH) drops the gun from the head of the American people and opens the government. It appears that Boehner is being held hostage by the right-wing of his own party and in turn thinks it's OK to hold the rest of us hostage. He is wrong and has lost any respect rational people may have once had for him. That being said it is time for the Senate to agree to pass and the president to say he will sign a bill exempting the D.C. budget from this mess. D.C. is being treated like another federal agency and that has to stop. We are 632,000 people strong and must be allowed to spend our own tax money as every other city and state in the nation is allowed to do.

On Wednesday morning the D.C. mayor's office sent out a press release stating:

Mayor Gray sent a letter to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) requesting an immediate meeting with them to discuss ways to alleviate the serious consequences of a federal shutdown for the District due to the capital city's lack of budget autonomy. The District, unlike every other state, county and city in the country, is prohibited from using its own locally-raised Fiscal Year 2014 funds to pay for operations during a federal shutdown. While the District has been able to continue operations by drawing on contingency funds, those will soon be exhausted. Meanwhile, the District's unique inability to spend federal pass-through funds that other states are able to use during a shutdown is causing significant problems (such as delaying payments owed to Medicaid providers, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and, shortly, the District's public charter schools).

Last week the D.C. MPD came to the aid of the Secret Service and Capitol Hill police when a woman driving a car in a wild chase from the White House to the Capitol appeared to be threatening the president and the Congress. It is time both realized that the MPD was not only needed but is actually handling the investigation of the case. The MPD is paid for with city taxpayers' money. In addition congresspersons, many of whom live in the District, are having their trash picked up, their streets policed, and all their other municipal services maintained only because the District is using its reserve funds to do so.

The time is now to act to allow D.C. to spend its own budgeted money not just its reserve funds which will be soon exhausted. The president received 93 percent of the votes in the District for his reelection. He received the District's 3 electoral votes. Now is the time for him to recognize that he must respect the people that live here and the District's independence and agree to sign a bill that will exempt the District from this mess.

Today House Oversight Committee Chair Darrel Issa (R-CA) will join the mayor and D.C.'s non-voting Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton to demand that this happen. The president must speak out and agree to sign a bill allowing the District to spend its own money during this shutdown. The time for him to act on this is now!

This article was first published in The Huffington Post.