Editorial: Congress must update Electoral Count Act to prevent another coup attempt by D.C. bureaucrats
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WASHINGTON — The nation’s capital is a place of contrasts: a sprawling, bustling community of more than 4 million. But it could also be a city in crisis.
In the aftermath of a long-awaited report by the House Select Committee on Benghazi and an election that resulted in a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate, the city is on the verge of taking on a new level of dysfunction. The District of Columbia government is already mired in a long-running dispute over the city’s new charter as the council meets in closed session next Tuesday.
The dispute over the charter has cast a pall on the local government and is putting pressure on politicians of all stripes: residents, elected officials and potential donors. It has also raised questions about whether the new charter could be put into effect and thus end up limiting the powers of the mayor.
On the national stage, meanwhile, a new political drama is unfolding over whether Congress should act to extend long-term unemployment benefits by automatically extending the period of eligibility for the first time since December 1983.
There are also two other problems facing DC and Washington as a whole: ongoing allegations that the Obama administration has manipulated the census to manipulate the apportionment for Congress in congressional elections and the looming threat from climate change.
For more than a month, the city has been on an unusually public and ugly run of budget battles. At stake were $1.5 billion in federal funding for programs including programs for the city’s homeless, the public schools and the water system. A coalition of progressive groups, including MoveOn.org with an online petition and “Our D.C.” magazine with a Facebook page, called for a vote on the proposed budget Tuesday.
The push for an in-person vote on the plan fell short and prompted Mayor Vincent Gray to issue a public statement saying he could not commit to support the spending proposal because there remained too much uncertainty about its effects on the city.
The issue was eventually resolved, but only after it had broken the political cycle and become