Following a tumultuous legislative year, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said she is optimistic that the 2012 congressional legislative session will see gains for the District.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives overturned several local D.C. laws, most notably barring the city from using its own funds to pay for abortions for poor women, and taking away the District’s vote in the Committee of the Whole. However, the nation’s capital emerged from 2011 in surprisingly good shape, Norton said in her annual appraisal of the legislative year.
The ban on local D.C. funds for abortion services was considered a “heartbreaking blow, but it was not nearly as harmful as making the abortion rider permanent,” which one bill attempted, according to the report released by her office.
Next year, Norton said she plans to take the next steps with Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), whose budget autonomy bill could end anti-home-rule riders like the one that banned payment for abortion services.
Among her victories, Norton counted keeping the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant program fully funded and intact, retaining funding for construction of the Department of Homeland Security headquarters in Ward 8, ensuring completion of the Coast Guard headquarters and its occupancy in 2013, and retaining $5 million in President Obama’s budget for HIV/AIDS prevention in the District.
Norton ended the year by getting her Southwest Waterfront Redevelopment bill through the House and ready for debate in the Senate, where she expects it to pass in early 2012. The 2.5 million square foot mixed-use project will create a new community on the Southwest Waterfront, matching the mixed-use Yards development.