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Mayor says no shutdown

5:25 PM, Sep 25, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Like every federal department head, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, his plan for providing essential services should the Congress force a shut down of the government at the end of the month.

In a surprise move Gray said he is declaring all 30,000 city employees "essential workers" meaning, the Mayor plans to keep them all on the job.

It would be a first, perhaps also a dig at the Congress which maintains authority over D.C. spending, which gets interrupted every time there is a political squabble on Capitol Hill.

D.C. leaders are unanimous in the move to take on the Congress. The DC Council on Tuesday is expected to give unanimous approval to making all city workers "essential". In the past that reference has been left to police, fire, school personnel and a few other categories.

Mayor Gray points out that six billion of the city's revenues are local dollars, with a small percentage flowing to the city from  being the Nation's Capitol.

The District's Attorney General, Irv Nathan has said its illegal to declare every D.C. worker as essential. The Chief Financial Officer, Natwar Gandhi said today he won't authorize pay checks to the entire work force if the AG says its not legal and Congress has not approved the spending.

It is possible but not likely, say observers, that city leaders could face federal charges and maybe some serious consequences from Congress. 

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