Notes from this morning’s Council Briefing

A lot of territory got covered this morning, so let’s jump in.

The council got a briefing this morning from the Office of Intergovernmental Relations on what’s happening in D.C. right now. Their written report is here. Some highlights:

  • The six-month spending package that funds the federal government through the end of 2017 largely protects federal funding aimed at the city, including the Center City Streetcar project, the Lander Street overpass, and CDBG and HOME grants. The city’s lobbying team made the case that the funding benefits the country as a whole by bringing representatives of the supplier companies to meetings with members of Congress.
  • The White House is expected to release its full budget proposal on May 22, and congressional committees will begin markup shortly after that. Those negotiations are expected to come to a head at the same time the debt ceiling is hit in the fall, which could lead to some interesting negotiations. Some of Trump’s targets for cuts, including the transportation capital grant program and Community Development Block Grants, are causing many groups to mobilize to ensure the funding stays intact.
  • The healthcare reform bill passed by the House last week is now in the Senate, but senators have indicated that they will not move it forward and instead start over with their own bill. They plan to use the “reconciliation” process to bypass the filibuster, but that only works if they don’t increase the deficit; that will be difficult given that the House version repeals some of the taxes that were funding Obamacare.
  • Trump’s tax reform package is very controversial, and also faces the same challenge of bypassing a filibuster since it dramatically cuts taxes for the wealthy.

Last Friday the Mayor issued an emergency order under the umbrella of the declared State of Emergency related to homelessness. The new order directs the administration to issue a 6 month permit for a night shelter for Operation Nightwatch in the University District. Their previous location was displaced by the new Navigation Center, and they have yet to find a new permanent location. The Council will deliberate on whether to accept or reject the emergency order this afternoon.

Next week the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee will continue its discussion of the Chinatown-International District MHA upzone. They will also hear a presentation from SDCI on vacant buildings.

Wednesday is Bike to School Day. Be extra careful out there!

This afternoon, Council member Herbold will be offering an amendment to the Q1 budget update to earmark $50,000 of Equitable Development Initiative funds to help the Ethiopian community with planning for a new community center. Herbold floated this last week as an alternative to Council member Sawant’s attempt to allocate $4.3 million out of the city’s general fund to “jump the line” and fund the community center now instead of running it through the EDI grant process.

Wednesday morning, the Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans Community will hold its second hearing on the proposed “observer bill of rights” ordinance proposed by Council member Herbold.