US House GOP bans DC mayor from House Floor

By Daniel Hamburg

WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — D.C.’s mayor is now banned from being on the U.S. House floor.

It’s one of several changes Republicans made in their new House Rules package passed Monday night. Democrats call this a punishing move targeting the mayor, but Mayor Muriel Bowser says it won’t affect much of her day-to-day activity.

“I think it sounds like some petty thing that was developed in the rules and I don’t laugh it off however because it shows how petty some people will be,” Bowser said. On Monday Bowser reacted to the rules change barring her from the U.S. House floor. It also takes away privileges for governors of U.S. territories, like Puerto Rico.

“The rules continue to grant governors and 16 other categories of people including foreign ministers floor privileges,” said D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. All but one House Republican voted 220 to 213 to pass the new House rules package where this change was made.

Despite calling the move petty, Bowser says she hasn’t used the privilege in her eight years in office. “I didn’t think it would be effective. My strategies with the members of the Congress have been to deal with them on very specific issues and try to win their support,” Bowser said. But still, Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger says it could create challenges.

“It seems like a punitive effort. Certainly, our ability to engage directly with the mayor of Washington D.C. or the governors of various different territories, it is important to our ability to do our jobs,” Spanberger said. D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is again pushing for independence from federal oversight of local laws.

“Congress has undemocratic plenary authority over DC and regularly uses its authority to legislate on local matters,” Holmes Norton said. “While DC deserves statehood, if any non-member of Congress deserves and needs privileges, it is D.C.’s Mayor.”

A bigger concern for local Democrats is the influence the right-wing Freedom Caucus has and if its members will restrict D.C. laws or take away funding.

Read more: Newsbreak