Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Dec. 16 accused congressional negotiators of coming to an agreement on a crucial spending bill at the expense of the District’s autonomy.

A House-Senate committee agreed Dec. 15 to a $1 trillion spending agreement for 2012, barely averting a federal government shutdown which could have also forced the closure of District government offices.

Earlier in the week, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) informed Gray that if Congress didn’t pass a new spending bill before the current continuing resolution expired on the night of Dec. 16, a D.C. shutdown was likely.

Norton also submitted an amendment to the appropriations bill which would have stopped a separate measure prohibiting the city from spending its local funds on abortions for low-income women. The attempt failed.

“For the second time this year, Congress has avoided a budget disaster by using the District’s autonomy as a bargaining chip. As in the April spending deal, this legislation also bars us from spending our own local revenues, paid by our own residents, on reproductive services for women who otherwise would not be able to afford them,” Gray said in a statement Dec. 16.

“It is outrageous that a Congress whose members would never allow such an imposition on the democratic authority of their own home states would so blithely violate the rights of the 600,000 people who call the nation’s capital home.”

Norton in a later statement expressed relief that the spending bill funded her three top priorities: the District of Columbia Tuition Assistance Grant program, the Department of Homeland Security headquarters, and HIV/AIDS prevention in D.C., including a needle exchange program, but still denounced the anti-abortion provision.

“We will never be satisfied as long as there is a single prohibition on D.C.’s use of its local funds,” Norton said. “It is especially ironic that the final sticking point in the negotiations on the conference report was how to promote democracy in Cuba while the bill tramples on democracy in the ‘capital of the free world’ with a rider keeping its residents from spending their own local funds on abortion services for low-income women.”