Mayor Gray Explains His Decision to Declare All District Government Operations Essential during Federal Shutdown

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

From a press release:

“Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray explained his decision to declare all District government operations as essential during a potential shutdown of the federal government.

“I have determined that everything the District government does – protecting the health, safety and welfare of our residents and visitors – is essential,” said Mayor Gray. “It is ridiculous that a city of 632,000 people – a city where we have balanced our budget for 18 consecutive years and have a rainy-day fund of well over a billion dollars – cannot spend its residents’ own local tax dollars to provide them the services they’ve paid for without Congressional approval. Congress can’t even get its own fiscal house in order; they should be taking lessons from us rather than imposing needless suffering on us. I will not allow the safety and well-being of District residents to be compromised by Congress’s dysfunction.”

A copy of the letter that Mayor Gray sent to the head of the federal Office of Management and Budget making his determination is attached.”

9-25-13 Gray Ltr to OMB re 2013 shutdown

56 Comment

  • I know Mayor Gray gets a lot of flack around here, but I fully support and admire what he’s doing here, along with the other council members supporting him on this.

  • Good for you, Mr. Mayor.

  • Thank you Mayor Gray!

  • Rarely do I have anything positive to say about Mayor Gray, but this is worthy of applause.

  • Wow this is fantastic. Love the one sentence letter- that really says it all!

    Ashamed of Congress and proud to be a DC resident right now!

  • justinbc

    Excellent! Now about that billion dollars…

  • I couldn’t be prouder. Good for him standing up and telling an unjust oddity that he simply doesn’t care, and we are not going to be held hostage by their foolishness.

    Very proud to be a DC resident today..

  • Awesome. It’s ridiculous that the DC government can’t spend IT’S OWN money without Congress’s approval
    – a complete slap in the face. We’re not talking federal dollars here, these are local tax dollars.

  • Good job Gray. Screw you, Congress.

  • Bravo.
    And seriously, ‘eff the U.S. Congress.
    I’m sure all 50 states would vote for a term limit amendment to the Constitution right now.

    • Term limits wouldn’t help – it’s the nut jobs who have been here the least amount of time who are causing all the problems. All the old senators would have worked out a compromise if they didn’t have the wacko birds like Lee, Cruz, and Rubio spewing stupidity and causing dysfunction.

      • Term limits would, in fact, help. Though, it wouldn’t cure the cancer that is the two-party system. All these guys are worried about winning their next election (and, in the case of the GOP, fending off primary challengers) and sucking the teat of their donors. They couldn’t give a rat’s ass about their constituents.
        The two party system based on private contributions is utterly broken and undemocratic.

        • Term limits would not stop someone like Cruz – he’s interesting in moving up not staying on. Instead term limits would ensure that we have an increased supply of the angry and the idiotic and those who believe compromise is a bad word.

          The two party system has problems, but it is not THE problem. Most multi-party systems sort out into a left coalition and a right coalition anyway – mimicking our two parties. More importantly, the winner-take-all elections we have will inevitably lead (over time) to a two-party system. That’s not going to change, so rather than cry about how everything would be wonderful with a multi-party system (like Greece, and Italy, and France, and every other also dysfunctional democracy), we should figure out how to make our two party system work better.

          Private contributions are problematic, although there are problems with public funding too (does every candidate get funding? What if I am a neo-nazi nut-job with no supporters? If not, what is the bar? Does funding go up depending on level of support?), but private contributions are not the main problem. The real nutjobs in Congress that are creating problems for everyone are not acting on the side of the moneyed interests any more than they are on your or my side.

          The problem is that a small number of angry, mostly white, mostly male, mostly under-educated people are enraged by a changing society that is placing less value on them. They are able to out-right elect several Members of Congress, and are able to put the fear of a primary into many more. In total this is still a minority, but because our system (for good reason) does a good job protecting minority views, this minority is able to muckup everything in Congress. This prevents good (and even basic) legislation from passing and makes passing essential legislation dramatically more difficult. WHich then produces worse legislation and prevents the government from solving problems even when there is a widely agreed upon solution.

      • Totally agree. A lot of the old-timers remember what compromise is. The Tea Party people think compromise is when Democrats come over to their way of thinking.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Fair play, Mayor Gray!

  • Bravo! Let’s give credit where it’s due. Good work, Mayor Gray.

  • You know, when Vincent Gray is a voice of reason, it is a sign the extremists who want to shut the government down have really gone too far. Glad to know I will still have garbage pickup and all the other services that residents of a modern city enjoy, despite the complete incompetence being displayed on Capitol Hill – mainly by people who treat the District as an unwanted stepchild.

  • epric002

    methinks this is the first time the internets have ever agreed on anything. i probably just ruined that…

  • Between this and the green initiative, I’m losing my will to pound the pavement with my recall petition…

  • I’m not a fan of the mayor but I applaud this decision.

  • Bravo. And get this: an hour after this PoP post, and there’s STILL nothing on the “Washington” Post’s web site about it! Hacks.

  • Now if he’d just do something about the people riding through the city on ATVs and dirt bikes, and all the bicyclists who refuse to obey the traffic laws. And vegan restaurants with no kid’s menu.

    Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

  • You people are funny, it would be great if the federal government would pack up and leave, DC would make the Detroit look like ancient Babylon! Don’t bite the hand that feeds and clothes you, generously I might add. I will never understand DC statehood, just consider DC large federally owned land, at originally 100 sq miles. it never should have been platted this big to begin with. Grandiosity is what destroyed washington’s core vision(he had to include alexandria). Don’t further erode his and madison’s desire for land distinct from state interference.

    • You are delusional if you think I (or any other homeowner in this town) am going to think of our land and our communities as ‘federally owned land’. Get a grip. We pay tax dollars just like anyone else and we deserve the services we pay for. Also, I don’t work for Congress but my husband does and the fact that you think he is paid ‘generously’ shows that you have no idea what you are talking about.

    • I have some shocking news for you. You are not actually a libertarian, let alone a staunch one. I trust this will trigger a long period of self discovery and growth.

    • Actually, I’m a staunch libertarian and a resident inside the Beltway, and you’re wrong on this. Libertarians favor localized decision-making as a way to maximize freedom. That’s why libertarians constantly believe that the federal government oversteps its constitutional bounds–not necessarily because those things can’t ever be done by a government (though many can’t, and shouldn’t be), but rather that those are the domains of state and local governments.

      If DC was federal property, that’s one thing. But then they have some nerve collecting local taxes. I’m not a DC statehood guy either, but shouldn’t a libertarian be against the federal government arbitrarily shutting down local, elected governments that fund themselves with their own tax dollars?

    • a staunch libertarian who believes in taxes without representation?

    • good trolling.

  • I think he just won re-election today. I’m decidedly NOT a fan, but nice job Mr. Mayor!

  • Way to go Gray!!

  • A well-written letter and an excellent decision. Bravo.

  • Lip service peopel

  • This is the kind of leadership you get when you have a grownup as your Mayor.

  • I will never agree with Mayor Gray on everything, but I respect and applaud the stands he takes for DC autonomy. He got arrested protesting for it and now he’s written a letter to Congress telling them he’s going to work around them to get it in this case. Way go!

  • andy

    I think this is a great fight for DC’s fiscal independence.

  • I dont like the mayor. But I have to give him a thumbs up for this move !

  • Can we still dump our trash on the steps of the Capitol?!

  • Oo, I like it.

    And I guess this answers my question about whether or not I still have to report for jury duty on October 1…

  • Fucking aye! Well done Mr. Mayor

  • figby

    Wow. I guess none of you have run afoul of DC’s usurious tax offices, dishonest collections programs or odious city services? Did anyone read the Post series about how city officials are allowing outside investors to buy up tax liens and evict elderly and low-income residents from homes they have owned outright for many years? No? Cheer the mayor on, then. Bravo, let’s keep all of that going because it’s so essential! Fully support him and admire what he’s doing. Because he doesn’t care about you and neither does this city.

    You’ll get a lot more like that (until he’s indicted, and replaced by the next guy, and then it continues) Rah rah DC high taxes and crap city services! Bravo, Mayor Gray! More condos! +1, +1,0000, Bravo Mr. Mayor! This is worthy of applause!

  • As much as I admire the principle, not every employee is essential. If they are truly essential, they better be at work next time there’s a blizzard, hurricane, etc. just like the cops and firefighters.

Comments are closed.