Tags: washington | dc | shutdown

DC Democrats Push Back Over Shutdown Wrangling

Image: DC Democrats Push Back Over Shutdown Wrangling Washington Mayor Vincent Gray talks with Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton on Capitol Hill on Oct. 9.

Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 02:09 PM

By Andrea Billups

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Political leaders in Washington are turning on fellow Democrats over the federal shutdown, offering angry reactions to the president and members of Congress as they fight to keep their own government afloat.

Eleanor Holmes Norton the District of Columbia delegate to the House of Representatives chastised President Barack Obama in a White House meeting Wednesday, heatedly telling him to accept a House-passed funding measure that would keep the capital's budget exempt from the shutdown and afloat through Dec. 15, The Washington Post reported.

The president has been reluctant to accept any piecemeal offerings from the House, which would allow certain factions to receive funding as the political wrangling over Obamacare continues amid additional concern over raising the federal debt limit.

But Holmes Norton did not mince words, speaking over the president in a spirited exchange described by one lawmaker as "self-absorbed," "parochial," and "strident."
She later dismissed concerns over the rancor, saying she had a private conversation with the president that was productive.

"It was very collegial," she told the Post. "And I told him that I’m just trying to make sure that the District isn’t brought to its knees."

Holmes Norton was not the only District Democrat expressing outrage at the lack of leadership.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray took on Democratic House Speaker Harry Reid in what the Post described as a "dramatic confrontation" on the Capitol steps Wednesday.

After Reid had concluded speaking, Gray refused to let the matter die. "Sir, we are not a department of the government," Gray told Reid.

When Reid and other lawmakers moved on about 50 yards away to chat with reporters gathered there, Gray came back for more.

"We're simply trying to spend our own money," Gray said, prompting Reid to push back in agitation. "I’m on your side. Don't screw it up, okay? Don't screw it up."

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