Reforming the Power of the Purse: A Look at the Fiscal and Budgetary Relationship between the District of Columbia and the U.S. Congress

  • Noah Wepman
Keywords: District of Columbia, National Capital Revitalization Act, budgets, Home Rule Act, Diggs Compromise, financial management, financial crisis, tax reform


The fiscal and budgetary relationship between the U.S. Congress and the District of Columbia is inconsistent with the typical federal governance system. In its current position, the District’s fiscal and budgetary authority is somewhere between that of a central city vis-a-vis its state capital and that of an Executive-level agency, like the Department of Commerce. The District is restricted in how it can raise revenue and formulate an annual budget, resulting in an often fragile fiscal environment. This article looks at the history of the current arrangement and suggests ways to reform the relationship between these two distinct government entities.

Author Biography

Noah Wepman
Noah Wepman earned a Master’s of Public Administration degree with a concentration in budget and public finance from The George Washington University. He received a Bachelor’s of Arts from Colby College and has lived in the District of Columbia intermittently for 12 years. Currently, he works as a budget analyst for the Washington, D. C. Public School System.