Rand Paul’s top-down conservatism

Continuing the grand congressional tradition of monkeying with local D.C. affairs, supposedly libertarian G.O.P. senator Rand Paul has introduced amendments to a bill granting the District budget autonomy that would dictate city policies on guns, abortion, and unions.

From the Washington Post:

One Paul amendment would require the District to allow residents to obtain concealed weapon permits for handguns, and would require the city to honor permits issued to residents of other states. Another amendment would make the District “establish an office for the purpose of facilitating the purchase and registration of firearms by DC residents,” in response to reports that there is only one licensed gun dealer in the city.

Paul has also submitted an amendment to codify the city-funded abortion ban. The prohibition — a continuing source of frustration for local leaders that is strongly supported by anti-abortion groups — has been extended via appropriations bills every year that Republicans have controlled one or both chambers of Congress since the mid-1990s.

Paul proposed another amendment saying “membership in a labor organization may not be applied as a precondition for employment” in the District, and protecting employees “from discrimination on the basis of their membership status” in a union.

Note that what’s at issue in this bill is whether or not the District gets to decide how to spend its own money raised by local taxes. (“Wait,” you say, “D.C. doesn’t already have that authority? But that’s crazy!” Indeed.) But for freedom-loving Rand Paul, it’s an opportunity to engage in some social engineering, conservative-style.

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3 thoughts on “Rand Paul’s top-down conservatism

  1. Somewhat related question: what’s the more likely and/or appropriate route: statehood for DC, or “annexation” by the state of Maryland?

  2. Statehood strikes me as utopian in the current political climate–it would essentially create two Democratic senators in perpetuity. No way the G.O.P. ever goes for that, unless the demographics of D.C. change drastically.

    No one here seems to talk about “retrocession”–I don’t get the feeling it’d be very popular. (You’d have to ask Marylanders what they think of the idea. ;)) The most likely path forward seems to be some kind of limited congressional representation–there have been bills put forward to give us voting representation–but among other things there are questions about the constitutionality of such a move.

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