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D.C. Tells Congress to Butt Out of Inaugural Nightlife Legislating

Local Washington and federal Washington have always co-existed uneasily. The city has no voting representation in Congress and federal legislators mostly act as if District politicians don't exist--except when trying to big-foot the locals by bossing them around.

So it was last night that the D.C. Council cracked back on the feds as it considered amending legislation approved two weeks ago authorizing bars and nightclubs to stay open later than usual during inauguration week. During the debate, council members brought up the letter from Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Bob Bennett asking them not to let the bars stay open longer.

Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) said mockingly: "We have members of the United States Senate who have nothing better to do than lecture us how to conduct our ABC regulation. That's really extraordinary. You wouldn't think that with a war, nuclear proliferation, an economic meltdown, they'd think, 'Oh, we can do something about bars staying open from 3 to 5!'"

Council member Carol Schwartz (R-At Large) piled on later: "I can't stand being dictated to by members of Congress. I bristle at it."

The council did amend the legislation to roll back drinking hours from 5 a.m. to 4 a.m., but that's still later than the normal 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.

By David A Nakamura  |  December 17, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Entertainment , Food & Dining
Previous: D.C. Council Amends Inaugural Bar Hours | Next: Los Angeles to Send 112 Officers to D.C. for Inaugural

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The DC Council has proven to be too irresponsible when it comes to making rational decisions. Congress has no choice but to step in a let its voice be heard above this den of childess legislation to keep bars open pass 2am. This whole idea is absolute nonsense. Where is the outrage from the DC citizenry over this "all night bar crawling", in a city where muggings, arm robberies, and gang warfare, are rampant.

Posted by: demtse | December 17, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

"Where is the outrage from the DC citizenry over this "all night bar crawling","

Um, most DC residents are pretty sophisticated and realize that many cities have establishments that serve alcohol later than us and somehow they manage to survive.

This really is no big deal. In fact, it may help, by cutting down some on the huge number of people that would be hitting the streets all at once at 2 am. This would allow some to stay later, which would make crowd control and getting cabs much easier.

Posted by: HillMan | December 17, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

The whole area is starting to look panicked and incompetent. DC can't decide what time the bars should close, Metro can't decide how much to charge, VRE is selling Inauguration Day train tickets by mail order instead of online (sheesh).

Get your act together, locals.

Posted by: wilmington10 | December 17, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Time to revoke "Home Rule" for DC

They only serve to distract people from real problems in this country by continually doing the wrong things and painting themselves into a corner so the rest of the country can bail them out time and time again.

Give DC back to MD and be done with it....

Posted by: indep2 | December 17, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm puzzled by indep2's comment that rest of the country is bailing out DC. Just when has this happened in a long time? As it now stands, the fed govt is contributing less to DC for a whole year of security than it did to either of the cities hosting the conventions. So exactly who is being bailed out?

Posted by: mdembski1 | December 17, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Did you know that the federal government funds DCs budget?

Thats what I mean by US taxpayers bailing them out... Considering DC keeps running over budget to the nth degree.

So essentially our taxes are paying for their existence.

Posted by: indep2 | December 17, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

well, I don't want my federal tax dollars to go to the states! Why si Ocngress always bailing out those dysfunctional states?! WHAAA!

Get over it. I'm an American, I have rights, regardless of where I live, and I will continue to fight, and fight hard, until those rights are given to me with no strings attached.

Posted by: RedBirdie | December 17, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

"Did you know that the federal government funds DCs budget?"

Did you know that is incorrect and borders on asinine?

The federal government makes an annual payment to help offset the lack of property taxes on federal buildings and land, as the federal government is the largest landholder its only fair. The DC budget is funded by its businesses and taxpayers more than that federal payment.

Do you also realize we pay $7 billion in federal taxes and get NO representation?

Posted by: rockotodd | December 17, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

After all, it only makes sense to keep the bars open well into the morning hours when you have a huge, unwieldy, unmanageable crowd. Alcohol and mobs just go so well together. And it's not like the police have anything better to do than break up bar fights.

Posted by: nicekid | December 17, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"They only serve to distract people from real problems in this country by continually doing the wrong things and painting themselves into a corner so the rest of the country can bail them out time and time again.wilmington10"

OOOHHH, I thought you were referring to Congress.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | December 17, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

What's the big deal? Las Vegas and New Orleans have bars that stay open 24/7 and New York, Miami and Chicago bars usually stay open until 3 or 4 AM. Nothing like watching the sunrise with a mimosa in hand from the top of the Rio hotel in Vegas. As John Riggins once said "DC needs to lighten up."

Posted by: oorfenegro | December 17, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

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