Photo by GabeB on Flickr.

House Republicans have proposed a “continuing resolution” to fund the federal government with deep cuts, including no federal payment for Metro repairs and cuts to many federally-funded DC services including the courts.

The list of cuts removes the entirety of the $150 million annual capital contribution to WMATA, which just began last year. The federal government makes no other contribution for Metro beyond general formula transportation dollars that go to states and localities.

In addition, it eliminates $25.5 million from the DC courts, which are federally funded, $15.4 million from schools, $10 million from the water and sewer authority, $15 from a forensics lab, $7 million from veterans housing, and more. Perhaps recognizing these cuts could lead to some chaos, they’re budgeting a $12.5 million increase for the Capitol Police.

The redevelopment of St. Elizabeth’s was spared, though I wonder what the $5.1 billion cut in BRAC 2005 would mean. Could the ill-advised moves of any defense agencies in our region be canceled? Or would it simply mean that they would move with even poorer infrastructure and planning than is already happening?

This proposal is unlikely to become law as is, since Senate Democrats are likely to have very different ideas. At least some cuts will probably survive, however.

If many of these go through, or even just the WMATA cut, it’s worth having a serious conversation about small civil disobedience steps to illustrate how much Congress needs things like our transportation network, including Metro.

DC Wire commenter windrider2 wrote,

When the District and the Metro have to radically cut services because of these budget cuts, I suggest they cut any and all related services to the Capitol Building and White House first. Cut court and forensic lab spending? Don’t prosecute criminals who commit non-violent crimes on or near federal building grounds. Cut Water & Sewer Authority? Busted pipes in the Capitol don’t get fixed and new pipes don’t get run to replace aging infrastructure. Cut veterans housing? Don’t prosecute homeless vets when they move into federal buildings to live.

In short, ensure that members of Congress feel the effects of the budget cuts personally with losses of services and perks they are accustomed to getting from the District and the Metro, which should cut all services to the Capitol, White House and other federal buildings.


DC doesn’t control who gets prosecuted, since the US Attorney handles almost all prosecutions, and the Capitol fixes its own pipes.

But I only half-jokingly suggested a $5 surcharge to exit Capitol South in the morning or enter it in the afternoon. Or, could DC stop assisting with Capitol traffic management and providing police for all of those special motorcades and VIP events? What else?

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.