Understanding the Political System of Washington D.C.

This article explains how Washington D.C.'s political system works including its mayor, city council, budget process and initiatives.

Understanding the Political System of Washington D.C.

The political system of Washington D. C. is unique, as it is not part of a state. According to Article I of the Constitution, section 8, clause 17, the city is a separate entity with its own municipal government, which includes a city council as the main legislative body and a mayor as the executive director.

For most of its history, the local administration in Washington D. was overseen by Congress. However, in 1973, the District of Columbia Autonomy Act allowed for the creation of a municipal government with a city council and mayor. Despite this, Congress still has the right to review and approve municipal legislation and the city's annual operating budget. The Mayor of Washington D.

is elected by the people and is responsible for submitting an annual budget proposal to the city council for review and adoption. The city council is made up of 13 members, 8 of which are elected by the city's 8 districts and 5 are elected overall, including the president of the council. The council votes on legislation, approves the city's budget, appoints members to boards and committees, and gives final approval on appointments made by the mayor. The budget process for Washington D. operates on fiscal years that run from October 1 to September 30 of the following year.

The federally funded component of the District of Columbia's budget undergoes a budget process independent of Congress, while the locally funded component becomes law after going through a 30-day review period by Congress. To make municipal budgets comparable between cities in the United States, data on fiscally standardized cities (FisC) was compiled by the Lincoln Institute for Territorial Policy. FISC are built by adding the revenues and expenses of each municipal government in the central city to a portion of the revenues and expenses of overlying governments, including counties, independent school districts, and special districts. Initiatives and referendums are also part of Washington D. C.'s political system. Anti-discrimination laws can be enacted at state, county or city level and cover areas such as public employment, private employment, housing, and public accommodations. The city of Washington was established in 1800 when the federal government moved from Philadelphia to Washington D.

C., although at that time the Capitol was not fully built yet. Nearly seventy years later, Georgetown, City of Washington and Washington County were absorbed by a new territory governed by a governor and council appointed by the president, a house of delegates elected by people and a non-voting delegate in Congress.

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