Posted by: Jeff | April 11, 2011

Don’t Tread On Me

The temporary budget agreement reached by Congressional Republicans and Democrats at the eleventh hour on Friday may have averted a government shutdown, and most observers have been quick to congratulate Harry Reid (D-NV) and John Boehner (R-OH) for compromising on the Planned Parenthood issue in order to get a deal done.  The biggest loser in the deal?  Clearly the District of Columbia, which once again saw Congress dictating how DC can use its own tax revenue:

“While I am relieved that Congress reached an agreement so that our employees can work and city services can continue, I am also angry and extremely disappointed that the District of Columbia, once again, suffered collateral damage amidst partisan bickering,” Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said in a statement issued after the deal was completed.

Referring to the ban on the District using its own funds to provide abortion services and the renewal of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, Gray said that “the District of Columbia’s right to govern itself has, once again, been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. This is ludicrous. Hypocrisy is alive and well.”

Hypocrisy indeed.  For every Tea Partier carrying Don’t Tread on Me flags on the National Mall to protest President Obama’s proclivity to use federal tax dollars to fund programs that help people, there seems to be a rank and file conservative Congressman ready to project his or her moral values on the 600,000 residents of the District.  It’s an absolute hypocrisy of the richest variety – that those claiming an over-reach of federal authority would be the authors of insidious policy riders that legislates what the District government – the only representatives actually elected by residents of the District – can and cannot do with its money.

It is shameful that a House of Representatives filled with Tea Party lackeys parroting mantras of “States’ Rights” would continue to subject 600,000 Americans to a form of second-class citizenship.  If Congress imposed its moral whims on Texas in this manner, we would have an outright secession on our hands.  Why should DC be treated so differently?  Mayor Gray is rightfully outraged at the District’s inability to self-govern.  I’m still waiting for principled conservatives – and liberals – to join him in demanding rights of representation and equal treatment for all American citizens.

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