Only a Pawn in Their Game

Although Republicans, and particularly the Tea Party, preach the virtues of local governance, free from federal overreach, they never seem to be speaking with Washington, D.C., in mind. One of the budget riders currently attached to the House budget would extend the Hyde Amendment to D.C., preventing the District from putting locally raised funds toward abortion coverage for women on Medicaid.

Looking at the long list of riders Republicans are proposing, it's easy to see why this is probably one that will stick: because residents of D.C. aren't constituents of anyone. When it comes to presidential elections, D.C. is so Democratic there's no reason for Republicans to try to win them over, and the GOP has been successful at keeping District residents politically powerless by opposing D.C. statehood initiatives. They even took away D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton's committee vote when they came into power in January.

In addition, the abortion-funding ban (which was put into place by the GOP in 1995 and finally removed in 2009), Republicans have targeted millions in funding cuts for D.C.; in February, they proposed cutting $80 million, and their latest stopgag proposal includes $42 million in cuts. I have little doubt these cuts will make their way into the final budget compromise, poor people will suffer, and no one will lose any votes because of it.

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