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The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


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.

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