Cut Throat: DC officials lose cool with Dem leaders over partial shutdown

gray-presser-20121227Democratic leaders who run the District of Columbia are rapidly losing patience with their Democratic colleagues in Congress and the White House, lashing out at them over the partial government shutdown and questioning their overall strategy.

The District already is dealing with lost tourism revenue, as some would-be visitors change vacation plans, knowing that D.C.’s top attractions like the Smithsonian museums are closed. But unlike other cities, Washington, D.C., also is not allowed to spend locally raised funds during the partial shutdown — due to its unique status as federal district. City leaders have campaigned to have that restriction lifted, but so far only the Republican-led House has voted to allow it.

The impasse has D.C. Democrats suddenly on the side of Republicans, and publicly challenging Democrats.

The tension came to a head on Wednesday, when D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray crashed a Senate Democrats’ press conference on Capitol Hill. Gray was attending a nearby rally when he marched over to the Senate Democrats’ event, in turn getting into a confrontation of sorts with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

Reid was caught on camera telling Gray: “I’m on your side. Don’t screw it up.”

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