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DC mayor appeals to Reid to free city's funds

Wednesday - 10/9/2013, 6:40pm  ET

AP: 8ea6bd21-2e14-4a09-a198-16805b72ef1d
Washington, Mayor Vincent Gray, right, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., left, make their way through the crowd after joining Senate Democrats outside the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, to urge House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, and other House Republicans, to break the impasse on a funding bill and stop the government shutdown that is now in its second week. Gray said in a statement Tuesday that the shutdown, now in its second week, is having dire consequences in his city. He said D.C. is the only city in the country where residents are worried that their local government won't be able to provide basic services during the shutdown. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray has used a news conference held by Senate Democrats to make a personal appeal to Sen. Harry Reid to free the city's local funds from the federal budget battle.

In comments caught by a WRC-TV camera, Reid told the mayor, "I'm on your side. Don't screw it up."

Gray walked over to the Senate Democrats' news conference on the Capitol steps after telling reporters that Senate leaders and the White House are blocking efforts to allow the city to spend local tax dollars during the shutdown.

Democrats have rejected Republican efforts to fund the government on a piecemeal basis and haven't indicated they'll make an exception for the district.

Gray says he did not know what the majority leader's comment meant.

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