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Clinton Vetoes D.C. Budget

September 28, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton vetoed Congress’ budget for the District of Columbia on Tuesday because Congress added numerous ``unacceptable″ restrictions ``that prevent local residents from making their own decisions about local matters,″ he said in a statement.

The budget as drafted on Capitol Hill would, for example, prevent the district from spending its own funds to lobby for voting rights for its citizens and undermine a local medicinal marijuana initiative.

But Linda Ricci, spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, said Clinton acted to defend the principle of home rule, not in response to any individual restriction.

``This is not about the ins and outs of each rider,″ she said. ``This is about permitting the local residents of the District of Columbia to make their own decisions about local matters the way that any citizen of any other city in America is entitled to.″

Although the measure would govern how the district could spend the entire $5.1 billion budget, the federal government would provide less than one-tenth of the total, $429 million, with local taxes and fees providing the rest.

It would have prevented the city from allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes despite a Nov. 3 referendum _ approved by 69 percent of the voters _ that backed such a policy.

The bill also would have required the National Park Service to implement an earlier decision allowing towers to be built in Rock Creek Park for cellular phone use. Local leaders and environmentalists have objected.

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