Rivals Fenty, Gray team up on Capitol Hill to seek federal money
Mayor Adrian Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent Gray may be rivals on the political field, but they were playing for the same team Wednesday morning, sitting side-by-side and sharing a microphone as they made the case for federal dollars during a budget oversight hearing on the Hill.
House Appropriations subcommittee chairman Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) joked that those who had come to the hearing expecting "fireworks" from the two mayoral candidates were surely disappointed.
"With you two, it's clear that D.C. comes first," Serrano said.
Questions from the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government were polite, even friendly, as members touched on controversial subjects such as school vouchers, needle-exchange programs, abortion and gun laws.
In perhaps the most timely exchange, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) quizzed Fenty about how he would protect the right of D.C. residents to keep and bear firearms following the 2008 Supreme Court ruling on the city's handgun laws.
Culberson noted that Texas law allows constituents in his west Houston district to carry concealed guns.
"In Texas, we want you as law-abiding citizens to be able to protect yourself," Culberson said, asking if Fenty didn't want the same thing for District residents.
Fenty politely nodded, before saying, "I believe residents of the District want very strict handgun laws."
"Gun control?" Culberson responded.
"Yes, sir," Fenty said.
"It's very different from Texas," Culberson concluded.
The hearing to examine how the District intends to spend federal money came one day after plans to revive a D.C. voting rights bill were shut down by efforts to weaken the city's gun-control laws. But Serrano stressed his desire Wednesday to continue to loosen constraints on the city's legislative and budgetary authority.
"I believe that we have reached a fairly stable bipartisan consensus that the people of D.C. should not have Congress interfering in their local affairs," Serrano said.
April 21, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories: 2010 District Election , Ann E. Marimow , Mayor Fenty | Tags: Adrian Fenty, Jose E. Serrano, United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
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