NewsTalk: Mayor Gray addresses budget defeat, tells Congress to stay out of D.C. affairs

(WJLA) – A model of dignified and self-assured comport during his appearance Thursday on NewsChannel 8’s “Newstalk,” D.C. Mayor Vince Gray nonetheless ducked the one question that undoubtedly is on the minds of many district residents these days.

Namely, has his clout vanished?

After all, he heads into the final few months of his term having been beaten by Muriel Bowser in the Democratic mayoral primary and just this week having his veto of the city’s $12.64-billion budget easily defeated on a 12-1 vote.

After being asked by host Bruce DePuyt whether – in light of recent events -- he believes his influence is, in fact, waning, Gray quickly and deftly shifted the subject back to the budget veto.

“Let’s not forget, Bruce, there were things in the budget that did get through,” Gray said, mentioning affordable housing and education spending.

It appears, if the mayor feels like the lamest of ducks, he’s not saying.

What he did say, though, was quite forceful -- if not repetitive -- when it came to members of Congress meddling in district affairs.

“It’s absolutely infuriating,” said Gray, who later in the day was scheduled to appear on Capitol Hill alongside Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton to address Rep. Thomas Massie’s amendment to a bill passed Wednesday that could block all or parts of D.C. gun laws.

His message to Congress?

Echoing Holmes on countless occasions, Gray said, “My message will be - stay out of the District of Columbia,” he said. “We don’t need anybody telling us how to run the District of Columbia.”

Ditto for Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), who has spearheaded the charge to strike down the district’s marijuana decriminalization laws, which went into effect Thursday.

“Here you have a congressman who is now substituting his judgment (for that of D.C. residents),” Gray said, “because he knows he can’t get away with it in Maryland.”{ }