Letter to Democratic Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees


Dear Democratic members of the House and Senate appropriations committees:

As you consider Fiscal Year 2012 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations legislation, we urge you to protect the District of Columbia's right to self-government as well as the health and reproductive rights of low-income women in the District of Columbia. We respectfully request that you ensure that language that undermines self-government is not included in subsequent legislation as it was in the House Appropriations committee-approved bill. Specifically, we urge you to not adopt Section 810 of the House bill, which prohibits local tax dollars from being used for abortions for women whose insurance is provided by the District government.

The autonomy of the District is necessary for democratic self-governance, and Congress should be mindful not to violate District residents' rights to control their own tax dollars. The Home Rule Act of 1973 was a result of decades of efforts to protect the rights of District residents. Republicans have spent much of the 112th Congress interfering in local District matters. Each time Democrats accede to violations of the District's home rule, we embolden Republicans to continue their attacks.

By failing to permit the District of Columbia to spend local government funds on abortion, we are sending the message that low-income women should not have access to the same medical services that middle- and upper-income women can access. Ultimately, this prohibition may threaten the health of medically vulnerable women and deny patients the right to access constitutionally protected medical services. We must strive to expand health care services for Americans throughout the nation -- not place barriers in the road of a woman seeking medical care simply because of the state, city, or district that she lives in.

The District does not have a vote in the House or Senate. But other Democrats do. We urge you to stand strong and to protect the democratic self-government of the District of Columbia.


Slaughter, Louise
DeGette, Diana
Moore, Gwen
Engel, Eliot
Polis, Jared
Richardson, Laura
Nadler, Jerrold
Wasserman Schultz, Debbie
Hastings, Alcee L.
Lee, Barbara
Connolly, Gerald E.
Towns, Edolphus
Filner, Bob
Brown, Corrine
Meeks, Gregory W.
Stark, Fortney Pete
Lofgren, Zoe
Loebsack, David
Cummings, Elijah
Holt, Rush D.
Capps, Lois
Farr, Sam
Maloney, Carolyn B.
Baldwin, Tammy
McDermott, Jim
Fudge, Marcia L.
Pingree, Chellie
Payne, Donald
Grijalva, Raúl M.
Quigley, Mike
Waxman, Henry A.
Blumenauer, Earl
Braley, Bruce L.
Woolsey, Lynn
Ellison, Keith
Heinrich, Martin
Waters, Maxine
Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr.
Lewis, John
Tsongas, Niki
Kucinich, Dennis J.
Rangel, Charles B.
McNerney, Jerry
Edwards, Donna F.
Green, Gene
Gonzalez, Charles A.
DeFazio, Peter A.
Chu, Judy
Speier, Jackie
Smith, Adam
Schakowsky, Janice D.
Crowley, Joseph
Peters, Gary
Welch, Peter
Matsui, Doris O.
Clarke, Yvette D.
Yarmuth, John A.
Cohen, Steve
Brady, Robert A