WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — On Wednesday evening, Congressman Mark Meadows’ bill, H.R. 5233, the Clarifying Congressional Intent in Providing for D.C. Home Rule Act of 2016, passed the House of Representatives.
The bill would repeal the District of Columbia’s “Local Budget Autonomy Amendment Act,” passed in 2012 by the D.C. city council, and reaffirm Congress’ authority in D.C. budgetary matters as established under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
“I am pleased to hear that H.R. 5233 passed the House today,” Congressman Meadows (R-NC) said. “Our most important duty as members of Congress is to uphold and defend the Constitution, and the Constitution clearly provides Congress the authority over the budget process in the District of Columbia.”
When our founders wrote the Constitution, they specifically provided Congress the authority to “exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over . . . the Seat of the Government of the United States.” The purpose of this arrangement was to prevent D.C. from gaining any improper leverage against other states due to its proximity to the federal government.
In 1973, Congress gave the District of Columbia a limited form of Home Rule, specifically the ability to pass legislation on strictly local matters, by passing the “Home Rule Act.” Yet the Home Rule Act expressly prohibited the District from altering the budget process and maintained the role of the Federal Government, specifically Congress’ role, in appropriating D.C. funds. However, in 2012, D.C.’s city council chose to pass their own budget autonomy act anyway, bypassing Congress and violating Article I. H.R. 5233 will strengthen prohibitions in the Home Rule Act to prevent the District from unilaterally amending or repealing any aspect of the budget process in the Home Rule Act, protecting Congress’s Constitutional role.
“Our founding fathers gave Congress control over D.C. in the Constitution for a very specific reason,” Meadows said. “The actions of the D.C. city council directly undermined the law and could potentially set a dangerous precedent if left uncorrected. My hope is that this bill will be a step in the right direction of enforcing the rule of law and reaffirming that the Constitution is the law of the land.”
The bill was originally cosponsored by Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD).