D.C. Mayor Grows Fearful of Prolonged Shutdown

Mayor Vincent C. Gray warned Tuesday that a drawn-out federal shutdown could lead to crisis in the city — a stark change in tone from his portrayal last week of a District government going about its business amid congressional dysfunction.
October 9, 2013
 

Mayor Vincent C. Gray warned Tuesday that a drawn-out federal shutdown could lead to crisis in the city — a stark change in tone from his portrayal last week of a District government going about its business amid congressional dysfunction.

READ: Full coverage of the shutdown's impact on states and localities

The shift came as the clock ticked on Gray’s strategy of tapping a special budget reserve to fund city operations during the shutdown and as news emerged that the District had been forced to put off many of its financial obligations since the shutdown began.

In a letter Tuesday to President Obama and top congressional leaders, Gray said “there will be severely negative consequences for us” if the city’s spending needs outstrip the reserves.

He suggested for the first time that public safety could be placed in jeopardy, citing federal grants “essential for the continued protection of strategic and high-visibility targets” that have been placed on hold while the congressional showdown plays out.

He also said the shutdown has forced the city to miss a $74 million payment to Metro and could interrupt a scheduled Oct. 29 payment to the city’s 60 charter schools, “many of which will be unable to absorb this blow to their finances.”

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