FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN? IMPACT ON D.C.? U.S. & D.C. BUDGET CRISES? D.C. CONTROL BOARD REVISITED? Seems We’ve Heard This Song Before! 1995 was a year of epic economic and political “train wrecks.” National and local fiscal and economic policies were under siege and grave budget deficits loomed in every direction. Politically, the Republicans were ascendant, and a beleaguered Democratic President was assailed from every direction. History repeats itself. 2011 looks a lot like 1995. Then the effects were draconian. The Federal Government shutdowns in 1995-1996 lasted for 27 days and affected over a million Federal employees. The costs to the country in delayed, reduced, and eliminated services were incalculable. The entire country was adversely affected. The District of Columbia was put into “economic receivership,” known as “The Control Board.” The final outcome was dramatic. Blamed for the shutdowns, the Republicans lost their majorities; President Clinton had a rebirth politically, and his Administration left office with a large budgetary surplus. Federal budgetary “train wrecks” are always a disaster, however, in terms of revenue forgone, essential services forgone, and hardships for a huge number of Americans. D.C. tenants came close to losing rent control forever, when the House D.C. Appropriations Subcommittee put it high on the chopping block, and the Control Board agreed. Fortunately, tireless, forceful lobbying by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton defeated that proposal. TENAC also lobbied all over Capitol Hill to save rent control. It was one of Mrs. Norton’s finest hours. It was also one of TENAC’s. TENAC’s Chairman, then an Analyst in American Government at the Library of Congress, was assigned to track the Federal Government shutdowns, and submit reports to Congress on its effects,* including its impact on the District of Columbia. (see below) We now have a great new mayor, distinguished new members of the Council, and a great new 10-year renewal of the Rent Control law, initiated by TENAC. Let’s not kid ourselves, however; another budgetary “train wreck” would be disastrous in these hyper-polarized political and economically-stressed times, where mean-spirited, vindictive politics hold sway. One need look no further than the outrageous curtailment of Delegate Norton’s limited political authority to realize that. Tenant voices need to be heard loud and clear in the District and in Congress!