Yesterday U.S Capitol police officers arrested Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray (D) for protesting the Congressional budget deal that would place restrictive riders on the city budget. DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) and council members Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Michael Brown (I-At Large), as well as 41 other protestors who blocked Constitution Avenue next to the Dirksen Senate Office Building were also arrested for unlawful assembly.
As a result of the Congressional 2011 budget deal, DC will be prohibited from using its tax dollars on abortion services for low income women, and the school voucher program would be reinstated. Moreover, the city will be unable to fund needle exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, stated the budget deal is “a blow to women in the District of Columbia….The budget agreement strips tens of thousands of women of access to the full range of reproductive health services that they need. Every state has the authority to spend its own local tax dollars to serve its constituents – including paying for women’s abortion services. But last night’s deal takes that power from the District.”
Prior to his arrest, Mayor Grey stated, “If this isn’t taxation without representation, I don’t know what is.”