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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - At a press conference held by Senate Democrats on Wednesday on the Capitol steps, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray walked up and made a personal appeal to Sen. Harry Reid to free the city's funds from the federal budget battle.

Gray started talking to Sen. Reid about the District spending its own money during the shutdown and the need for help to continue to fund services.

As cameras rolled, Sen. Reid told Gray, "I'm on your side. Don't screw it up."

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.

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