Jun 23, 2023 - Politics

House Republicans want to intervene in D.C. traffic

Congressional Republicans weigh in on right turns on red. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Congressional Republicans want to end traffic camera tickets, stop D.C. from banning right turns on red, and continue outlawing the tax and sale of marijuana.

Why it matters: House Republicans this week are threatening to intervene in D.C. again via the budget process, and this time they have some very particular issues in mind.

What's happening: Take traffic, for example. D.C. wants to ban by 2025 all right turns on red, citing pedestrian safety, but if successful the GOP would block that law from taking effect.

  • Traffic enforcement cameras would also be on the chopping block, just as the city aims to increase their numbers from 140 to 500.
  • Camera tickets bring in a lot of money, so snuffing them out would also unbalance the city's newly approved budget.

Zoom out: The budget language proposed by the House GOP also cuts $20 million in emergency planning and security for D.C., cuts HIV/AIDS testing and treatment by $1 million, and "fails to fund the full needs of our Court system by $143.8 million," according to D.C. Council chair Phil Mendelson.

  • It would repeal the Death with Dignity law that allows terminally ill people to end their life.
  • And would prohibit any abortion funding via local or federal dollars.

What they're saying: "They do not make the District safer, nor do they make sound fiscal sense," Mayor Muriel Bowser, chair Mendelson, and Attorney General Brian Schwalb wrote in a letter to the House Thursday.

What's next: A House Appropriations subcommittee approved the bill Thursday morning, moving it to a full committee vote, per the Washington Post.

Thought bubble: Even if all these items don’t succeed, it sets up the possibility that local D.C. laws are again on the bargaining table.


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