WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- "We're on your side don't screw this up." That's what Senate Majority Harry Reid told DC Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray today as the capitol city's Mayor pressed him on the steps of the US Capitol to free up DC tax dollars from a federal appropriations bill at the center of the federal government shutdown.
Gray says there are about six billion local tax dollars in the federal appropriation that he needs to keep some 32,000 city workers on the job after a contingency fund runs out early next week.
Gray has been outspoken about the need for budget autonomy in D.C. On Tuesday afternoon, Gray sent out a series of tweets lashing out about the federal government shutdown before releasing a letter to President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
READ THE LETTER: http://1.usa.gov/16PPDpq
At approximately 12:20 p.m., Gray tweeted a portion of the letter in five parts:
"In no other part of our country are Americans facing the loss of basical municipal/state service due to the fed. government shutdown...Families in Chicago, Cincinnati, and Las Vegas are not worried that their local govts won't be able to maintain basic services...like schools, police and fire protection, or trash collection -- and neither should families here in the District of Columbia...Once again our citizens find themselves innocent bystanders to a federal goverment shutdown. This is simply unconscionable. And it is long past time for the District's budget to be decoupled from the federal budget."
Last week, Gray criticized Democrats on Capitol Hill who opposed a Republican-backed move to approve city funding through December 15th while still refusing to pass an entire funding budget that would include Obamacare.
Republican Congressman Darrell Issa had been at a press conference with Gray and DC Congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton urging Democrats to support releasing the DC funds.
Issa said it was not part of the GOP ploy to begin funding some parts of the budget or all the budget except for Obamacare.
Wednesday was day 9 of the shutdown of the federal government.