Gray deems all D.C. services essential

Amanda Iacone and Andrew Mollenbeck,

WASHINGTON – D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has deemed all District services essential in order to keep local government services up and running even if the federal government would shut down.

Gray sent a brief letter Wednesday to the federal Office of Management and Budget saying all operations of D.C. government are “excepted” activities “essential to the protection of public safety, health and property and therefor will continue to be performed during a lapse in appropriations.”

In other words, city services would continue in the event of a shutdown.

The District can’t spend locally-collected tax dollars without Congressional approval, which Gray called “ridiculous” in a statement released Wednesday.

“I will not allow the safety and well-being of District residents to be compromised by Congress’ dysfunction,” the mayor said in a written statement.

The OMB will respond to Gray’s plan to keep operating without the required authorization to spend money.

Gray’s office hasn’t explicitly addressed hypothetical outcomes or legal questions if the OMB rejects the mayor’s declaration. A spokesman confirmed only that it remains Gray’s intent to continue operating.

D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan has warned of “significant adverse consequences” if the District violates federal law.

The mayor met with D.C. Council members Tuesday to discuss the plan. Council is expected to vote on a resolution supporting the mayor’s decision next week.

Mayor Gray letter to OMB

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