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Posted at 11:50 AM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Norton accuses GOP of trying to 'humiliate' and 'disrespect' Gray

By Ben Pershing

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) ripped into her Republican colleagues Tuesday morning at a hearing on the District's school voucher program, accusing them of trying to "humiliate" Mayor Vincent C. Gray and "disrespect his office."

The dispute centers on Gray's absence from the hearing -- convened by the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census and the National Archives -- to evaluate the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. The program, which provides low-income D.C. students federal money to pay for private school tuition, has long divided local officials.

As late as Monday evening, Gray was included on a witness list published by the subcommittee. An opponent of continuing the scholarship program -- which congressional Democrats have sought to end, while Republicans want to keep it going -- Gray had been slated to serve as the one "minority witness" selected by panel Democrats.

Late Monday night, the committee said Gray was no longer scheduled to appear and would be replaced by another Democratic witness. So why did the mayor cancel?

In her opening statement at the hearing, Norton lashed out at committee Republicans for their treatment of Gray, saying the mayor had made a few small scheduling requests to ensure he could appear and was denied by the panel majority.

"In 20 years of service in the Congress I have never seen any highly placed public official treated so shabbily," Norton said, adding: "It was offensive, petty and beneath the dignity of Congress."

At a break during the hearing, Norton elaborated on her complaints. She said Gray had asked if the hearing could begin a bit earlier than it's scheduled 9:30 a.m. start time, and was denied. She said Gray then asked if he could be the first witness to testify, so he could leave right away afterwards. Norton said Gray was told he could serve on the first panel -- which also included parents and students participating in the scholarship program -- but wouldn't necessarily get to testify first.

Norton said that congressional panels typically did not treat high-ranking witnesses that way, nor was it common to ask elected officials to testify on a panel with their constituents. But she also said she did not believe the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), was involved in the decision not to accommodate Gray.

"The chairman knew nothing about it," Norton said. "I don't know who did it but my best guess is that it is someone on the staff."

Before the hearing began, a committee GOP aide said reporters would have to ask Gray's office for details on why he had cancelled his appearance. As of this posting, the committee had not responded to a follow-up request for comment on Norton's complaints. Gray's office had also not responded to a request for comment.

By Ben Pershing  | March 1, 2011; 11:50 AM ET
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Education, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Vincent C. Gray  
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Comments

It's not just Gray they disrepect, it's every citizen of the District.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 1, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

By the GOP humiliating Gray, I assume she means Gray's Own Peeps. He and his gang are their own worst enemies.

Posted by: blankspace | March 1, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

By the GOP humiliating Gray, I assume she means Gray's Own Peeps. He and his gang are their own worst enemies.

Posted by: blankspace | March 1, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Norton says:
"In 20 years of service in the Congress I have never seen any highly placed public official treated so shabbily," Norton said.

Another over-the-top tirade from No-nothing Norton. Open mouth and garbage falls out.
+++++

Posted by: g0tcha | March 1, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are going to find out that they may have won but people expect you to act respectful, civil and fair.

Posted by: rlj611 | March 1, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"It was offensive, petty and beneath the dignity of Congress."


HA! That's a good one, Eleanor -- dignity -- Congress -- ha ha!

Posted by: mikecapitolhill | March 1, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

You have to wonder what was on Gray's calendar that was more important than testifying before Congress. Is it possible that Gray is the one who is trying to humiliate and disrespect the Republican majority on the committee by telling them that they are not the most important appointment on his busy schedule?

Posted by: hisroc | March 1, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are all about extending democracy to everyone else overseas, but they won't allow the same due to those who are born here, those who live here, those who have fought for their country, those who pay their taxes or even those whose ancestors came here 140 years before America's Independence.

Posted by: HillRat | March 1, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

What else would you expect from a bunch of tea party rednecks? If you think hte Congressmen are bad, you should see their staff.

Posted by: PepperDr | March 1, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse


I can testify before your Committee, but it will have to be on my terms.

Duh, Ms. Norton, do you not realize that the US House of Representatives will take a back seat to no one? You should know, you're right up there with them. Perhaps Mr. Gray should have explained his priority in forcing the Committee to accept his schedule.

.

Posted by: adjjones | March 1, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

ok, PepperDr, give us some scoop...

Posted by: anonymouslurker | March 1, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

if the GOP controlled house really wanted to save money on the Federal Budget, stop trying to force feed DC the school voucher program KIDS in this have enough choice for an education

Posted by: JeroRobson1 | March 1, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Republicans disrespect the District and its citizens all the time, particularly by denying us representation in Congress.

However, as the past 2 weeks have shown, Gray needs no help in the humiliation department - he and his Marion-Barry-like cronies have humiliated themselves repeatedly, Republicans or no Republicans.

Hindsight is 20/20, eh, DC? Do you now wish you'd reelected a proven leader and great mayor instead of the "nicer" guy?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | March 1, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on Eleanor. Why should Congress respect a sinking ship? The Congress recognizes a doofus, a dunce, and a corrupt elected official! Why accommodate the class clown???

Posted by: rpcv84 | March 1, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Rednecks of the U.S. House of Represetatives, i.e. Klan in suits.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | March 1, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Gray must have been too busy hiring another convicted felon at 100K + per year or ordering his pimped out ride like Kwame did.

And you want respect?

Posted by: johnfchick1 | March 1, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse


Ghetto thugs in the Mayor's Office and City Council... gangsters in suits.

Posted by: kenk33 | March 1, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

No need answering the charges or fixing the mess. Just keep going. Business as usual.

Even Nortons in on it!

Posted by: bschaper | March 1, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"In 20 years of service in the Congress I have never seen any highly placed public official treated so shabbily," Norton said"

Uhh ma'am..a certain impeachment comes to mind...if you consider that shabby treatment...and and just about any Supreme Court Republican nominee..say for instance Judge Bork, or Thomas? You were joking right? It was a light hearted joke right? You really didn't mean da mayor was being "disrespected" or "dissed" by Congress, did you....this from a city which refused to put up Ronald Reagan National Airport signs?

Posted by: wjc1va | March 1, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans in Congress have already made up their minds that they're going to shove a new voucher program down the throats of D.C. residents, even though the majority of us oppose the program. So, why do they need the mayor's testimony?

It's the same way members of Congress disrespect the Secretary of Defense, when he tells them to kill a program that the military doesn't want or need.

Members of Congress think winning an election bestows them with wisdom greater than the average citizen. They are self-absorbed idiots, who are destroying our country.

Posted by: Kathy8 | March 1, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Vincent Gray has made his position on vouchers clear. He has told Congress not to shove this down the throats of the District. Eleanor Holmes Norton has made the same thing clear. Republicans and even some Democrats like Lieberman and Feinstein think they can do to the District what they wouldn't dare try with their own constituencies. So when you tell me that the Mayor of the Capital City of our nation will end up on a panel and they won't even guarentee he can speak first you know the members of Congress and their staffs who set the schedule aren't interested in hearing from him.

Go Eleanor!!!!

Posted by: peterdc | March 1, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Do you ever think that Governor Bush or any other white public mayor or official would have been similarly treated -- absolutely not, but there has always been a gentlemens agreement among white males to undermine, disrespect, humiliate and discredit any and all African American public officials, businessmen and others of any prominence whenever possible. You will note that Elliott Spitzer is on national TV with his actions swept under the rug and he is back to business as usual and making money once again, while we all know had he been an Africa American AG he wouldn't even be able to make a living in America. We have personally witnessed the unending assaults on Marion Barry and the major media campaign launched against him for years on end. I remember an article discussing how much his wife paid for a single pair of boots -- do you ever recall any discussion of the spending of any Bush wives or fashionable Nancy Reagan, Mrs. Hollywood herself. Yet, we have to hear about Michelle Obama's spending or wardrobe and criticism of the appropriateness of Obama's outfits all the time. There is always an attempt to discredit African Americans and so the beat goes on......

Posted by: hotezzy | March 1, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Please.... E-Norton, please... stop playing these party lines... gov't has always treated you liek a step child.... your not a state.. yoru given a gratis seat in the hosue but your vote does nto count.... it is comical.. the district has been "dissed" by congress, regardless of who is running the house! I dont hear you talking about how gray has already turned on his campaign promises... why is that ? You dont mention teh Kwame adn District SUV incidents.. why is that ?? because you are all on the same team, thats why.... get off your party line of traching the other side and go make a difference!

Posted by: rvanags | March 1, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Interesting comment made by a lady that did not think it was necessary to pay her taxes until she was ready to run for office.

Ironically....Gray doesn't need any help humiliating himself as he has been doing a pretty good of that all by himself.

Posted by: priveye | March 1, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

My goodness, disrespecting Mayor Gray!!?? He's doing a very good job of that himself. After two successful administrations - Williams & Fenty - there are been an incredible amount of back-sliding - and so rapidly. There's an old adage - 'you only get one chance to make a first impression'. Even though I live in NOVA, I find it all very disheartening...and on top of PG's troubles...it reflects on all of us.

Posted by: colinhrdng | March 1, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"Disrespect" as a transitive verb is apparently included in the Constitutional Law curriculum at the Georgetown University Law Center.

Posted by: IanGilbert | March 1, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

DC is a joke these days

Posted by: maddogjts | March 1, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

...there has always been a gentlemens agreement among white males to undermine, disrespect, humiliate and discredit any and all African American public officials, businessmen and others of any prominence whenever possible. You will note that Elliott Spitzer is on national TV with his actions swept under the rug and he is back to business as usual and making money once again, while we all know had he been an Africa American AG he wouldn't even be able to make a living in America. We have personally witnessed the unending assaults on Marion Barry and the major media campaign launched against him for years on end.

Posted by: hotezzy | March 1, 2011 3:34 PM

******************************************

Pick up the race card and put it away. Do want to explain why Jesse Jackson is still doing his thing after his adultery and illegitimate child? How about Al Sharpton and Tawany Brawley or the Duke Rugby Team? Why is Charlie Rangel still in Congress as if he didn't violate rent control laws or evade income taxes?

Don't tell us that black politicians don't get a pass just as often as a white politician--that just doesn't pass the Stupid Test. As for Marion Barry, just like Vince Gray and Kwame Brown, he brought all his grief on himself without any "media campaign." If you act the fool, the public will see you as a fool.

BTW, Spitzer was the Governor of NY, not the AG, when he was forced to resign.

Posted by: hisroc | March 1, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

There is always an attempt to discredit African Americans and so the beat goes on......


Oh for heavens sake Izzy..quit the racist "i'm a victim poor me BS". Clarence Thomas, black, supreme court nominee was dragged through the mud; Brown the FEMA guy, white was excoriated; Bill Clinton..remember him? was impeached for obstruction of justice.

At the same time look at the state you black elected representatives...start anywhere..Marion Barry...you see anyone except Condelezza Rica and Colin Powell worth emulating?

Look no one has any patience anymore with the utter racist crybaby baloney you're selling. Its over, the victimhood gimme a handout scam is over. You can't make money any more on that. No one is going to pay you anymore because of the color of your skin.

so Join the workforce and join America and quit the racist crying bed-wetting crapola you just posted.

Posted by: wjc1va | March 1, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

So, Republicans are have "humiliated" Mayor Vincent C. Gray and "disrespect his office"? Seems to me he does a fine job of that all by himself.

And spare me the respectful, civil and fair c..p. I'm surprised that any Democrats showed up for the committee meeting. It seems to be Democrat's SOP not to participate unless they win.

Posted by: Ddad99 | March 1, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Noron trying to get attention. She is so irrelevant. 20+ years is waaayyy too much time. Term limits, term limits, term limits. Fresh ideas are needed.

Posted by: ReneesOpinion | March 1, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Del Norton has never had an original thought and has only complained of Republican opinions for 20 years. She has never gone forth for DC as a whole but only for Democrat representatives...read Marion Barry and the ilk. Where is her accolades, her accomplishments for ALL of the people of DC? She is not a person for the people in my opinion. Replace her with someone interested in moving forward.

Posted by: Sandman521 | March 1, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Del Norton has never had an original thought and has only complained of Republican opinions for 20 years. She has never gone forth for DC as a whole but only for Democrat representatives...read Marion Barry and the ilk. Where is her accolades, her accomplishments for ALL of the people of DC? She is not a person for the people in my opinion. Replace her with someone interested in moving forward.

Posted by: Sandman521 | March 1, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Del Norton has never had an original thought and has only complained of Republican opinions for 20 years. She has never gone forth for DC as a whole but only for Democrat representatives...read Marion Barry and the ilk. Where is her accolades, her accomplishments for ALL of the people of DC? She is not a person for the people in my opinion. Replace her with someone interested in moving forward.

Posted by: Sandman521 | March 1, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"Norton accuses GOP of humiliating Gray". Seems like a few senior senators (didn't see a mention of the dems objecting to Gray not appearing), wouldn't rearrange a hearing for a Mayor. What was sooooo important that the Mayor couldn't show up for something he supposedly is so passionate about. Seems like there was more "dissing" on Gray's part than the other way around. And shame on WaPo for turning this once again into a broad brushed GOP bashing. I am sure Gray had plenty of notice-he could have made it if he had wanted to, so DC residents, maybe you need to find out why your Mayor is telling you one thing and doing another. As for Norton, why do you keep her in office? What a waste.

Posted by: woodbinemom | March 1, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Too late Eleanor, Vince Gray needs no help; he's quite capable of making a fool of himself, no help required or needed!

Posted by: OhDarn | March 1, 2011 6:16 PM | Report abuse

It would be impossible for the GOP to disrespect DC any more than its leaders have disrespected its citizens for the last 30 years, what with the District's pathetic schools that send far too illiterate kids into the world. Sure, it's also family breakdown, but c'mon, DC govt is a disgrace.

Posted by: johnhopkinson2004 | March 1, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Disrespect??? This city administration doesn't deserve any respect! Ms. Norton, SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!!!

Posted by: rlc5495 | March 2, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Please look at Eleanor's campaign contributions first. She is bought and paid for by the unions. She gets next to no support form the citizens of DC. She is a total fraud and a tax cheat to boot. This entire debate over the vouchers is to support the union! The best thing for DC to do would be to give every student a voucher and shut down the failing schools. With the charter schools they are already 40% of the way there - please end the misery!

Posted by: overtaxedindc | March 2, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Please look at Eleanor's campaign contributions first. She is bought and paid for by the unions. She gets next to no support form the citizens of DC. She is a total fraud and a tax cheat to boot. This entire debate over the vouchers is to support the union! The best thing for DC to do would be to give every student a voucher and shut down the failing schools. With the charter schools they are already 40% of the way there - please end the misery!

Posted by: overtaxedindc | March 2, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

With the leadership shown thus far by this administration Gray has opened the door to this indignation; this is probably why he is not taken as seriously as he should be. He has just about lost the people of DC.

Posted by: tazz2 | March 3, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

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