The federal appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2010 includes several items that would end funding bans affecting several different issues in Washington, DC. If passed in its current form, the bill would eliminate a prohibition on using DC-raised monies for abortion, would end a ban that prohibits the use of federal funds for registration of domestic partners in the District, and would end a federal funding ban on needle exchange programs in DC. Another provision would allow DC to conduct a referendum on the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
In a statement (see PDF) for the subcommittee markup of the bill in June, Congressman Jose E. Serrano, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, described the rationale for these provisions as taking “further steps towards reducing undue congressional interference in local affairs and eliminating restrictions on the District that do not apply to other parts of the nation.”
Most of these restrictive bans were implemented in the late 1990s under a Republican-controlled Congress. Spokeswoman for Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee Jennifer Hing told the Hill that they “hope and expect that there will be some changes to those provisions in full committee.” It is probable that these provisions of the bill will also be faced with resistance from Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee.