D.C. Delegate Shifts Gears On Bail-Out Package
Norton says she made 'a terrible mistake'
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Aug. 5) -- Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia's non-voting delegate in Congress, has done a quick 180-degree turn on Congress' rescue package for the nation's ailing capital.
Norton, who praised the aid legislation last week as a "big win," now says it's a too great a setback for home rule. She opposes stripping Mayor Marion Barry of his management authority over nine city departments and giving it to D.C.'s financial control board.
President Bill Clinton signed the measure this morning, which means Norton's latest comments amount to little more than political damage control.
In a letter to constituents, Norton says the legislation that she helped draft contains "outrageous, anti-democratic provisions." In an interview with The Washington Post, Norton added: "Nobody regrets the money, but it was too high a price to pay."
Norton said she miscalculated the depth of local reaction and should have talked about the rescue package in a more balanced fashion. She said she was "foolishly optimistic" that she could stop the reductions in home rule even as the aid package moved forward in Congress.
The package provides hundreds of millions of dollars of aid in exchange for limiting the role of Barry, Washington's ineffective and unpopular mayor.
Norton did not ask Clinton to veto the D.C. proposal, part of the federal budget legislation. She sent a letter to the president on Monday, asking for a meeting to discuss the home rule question.
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