WASHINGTON (WUSA9)-- In past years when the federal government is shutdown because the Congress does not approve a spending bill--it meant the Mayor of the District of Columbia had to dismiss all non-essential city workers as well.
On Tuesday when thousands of federal employees in the DC area were reporting for work only to close out their offices and work spaces it was business as usual for the 32,000 employees of the DC government.
That's because Mayor Vincent Gray told the Office of Management and Budget (and Congress) that he was treating every city worker as an essential employee. The mayor would be paying them with multi-million dollar contingency fund that had already been approved by the Congress in the last spending bill.
So far so good for DC workers since Congress members seem so preoccupied with their own battles to worry about the city's employees.
Privately, a few DC Council members had been hoping to see federal agents descending upon the John Wilson building, seat of the local government, down Pennsylvania avenue from the US Capitol.
With network cameras rolling, District of Columbia officials would have been given a national - if not worldwide - stage to explain how the 650,000 residents of the Nations Capitol have no voting representation in the House and Senate and no final say over how their locally raised money is spent (about 6 billion dollars this year) and no final approval over their local laws.
That authority was given to the US Congress in the Constitution and Republicans are determined not to relinquish that rule to DC residents who are among the most loyal Democrats in the country.