Alright, so everyone knows that D.C. collects its own tax revenue, but without a CR it can’t spend money it has already collected. D.C. has been operating on a rainy day fund, which is supposed to be there for times of crisis and that will soon be exhausted from the shutdown (I’d like to see the Federal government make them whole in that regard, but who knows what will happen.)
Anyway, the GOP controlled House during the shutdown has passed a few “partial” funding bills that fund specific parts of government. Most of them, the Democrat controlled Senate has rejected. I believe they did pass a partial funding bill providing for military pay.
I understand the politics here, and I don’t want to get into a discussion of who is in the right or the wrong about the shutdown. I’ll stipulate that the Democrats want to highlight how bad the shutdown is to make the Republicans look irrational and dangerous, in hopes that it undermines their position and makes them more likely to end the shutdown no strings attached. I’ll stipulate the Republicans, in passing a series of partial funding bills for particular departments are playing a game for their own political ends. If the Democrats went along with it, the Republicans could eventually just fund all the stuff they care about and leave all of the Democratic priority programs unfunded, and the Republicans would not feel much pressure to bring them back.
So I understand, and from a political tactics perspective, agree that to get what they want (shutdown ended) the Democrats would be making an unwise move to pass these partial funding bills.
However, they have already passed one–for military pay. Surprisingly, the House has passed a bill that would allow D.C. to continue being funded, with its own tax revenues. D.C. is one of the most Democratic areas in the entire country, so it’s very hard to argue it is some Republican priority that the city of D.C. be funded.
My question is, how do the Democrats justify not funding D.C.? The arguments against it just sound stupid to me. Barbara Boxer said on the steps of the Capitol that they have to “remain firm, for the people of Maryland, Virginia” and other States who are also “suffering.” But that’s a false equivalency, the citizens of Maryland and Virginia are covered by their State governments, which are still funded and running, and their respective county or municipal governments which are still running. D.C. is unique in that it is a city government, not part of any State, that has no State to help it, and that cannot even use its own tax revenues because of this shut down. That seems manifestly unfair, and I don’t see how the Democrats in the Senate can agree to a partial funding bill that provides for military pay but didn’t fast track the D.C. funding bill through the Senate.