Congress often interferes with the District of Columbia’s budget. For several years, Congress has prevented D.C. from using any federal funds for its domestic partnership law. Last week, in the Appropriations bill for Financial Services and General Government Operations, that provision was removed. Got this from a pdf version of a summary of the bill:
Removing Special Restrictions on the District of Columbia: Eliminates prohibition on use of local tax funds for abortion, thereby putting the District in the same position as the 50 states. Also discontinues ban on use of funds in the bill for domestic partnership registration and benefits, and allows the District to implement a referendum on use of marijuana for medical purposes as has been done in other states.
We’ve been down this path before — and not so successfully. In June of 2007, then-President Bush said he would veto the D.C. appropriation if it allowed funding for the DC domestic partnership law. Rep. Virgil Goode, a hard core right-winger who lost in 2008, offered an amendment to the appropriations bill, which restored this prohibition. We lost in the Democratically controlled House by a vote of 224 – 200. We can probably expect a similar vote when this bill hits the House floor, but not a similar veto threat. Timing is unclear, but could be soon.