Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter VI. Reservation of Congressional Authority.


§ 1–206.01. Retention of constitutional authority.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Congress of the United States reserves the right, at any time, to exercise its constitutional authority as legislature for the District, by enacting legislation for the District on any subject, whether within or without the scope of legislative power granted to the Council by this chapter, including legislation to amend or repeal any law in force in the District prior to or after enactment of this chapter and any act passed by the Council.


(Dec. 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 813, Pub. L. 93-198, title VI, § 601.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-206.

1973 Ed., § 1-126.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-203.02, § 1-203.03, and § 1-204.04.

Cross References

Budget and financial management, borrowing and spending limitations, see § 1-206.03.


§ 1–206.02. Limitations on the Council.

(a) The Council shall have no authority to pass any act contrary to the provisions of this chapter except as specifically provided in this chapter, or to:

(1) Impose any tax on property of the United States or any of the several states;

(2) Lend the public credit for support of any private undertaking;

(3) Enact any act, or enact any act to amend or repeal any Act of Congress, which concerns the functions or property of the United States or which is not restricted in its application exclusively in or to the District;

(4) Enact any act, resolution, or rule with respect to any provision of Title 11 (relating to organization and jurisdiction of the District of Columbia courts);

(5) Impose any tax on the whole or any portion of the personal income, either directly or at the source thereof, of any individual not a resident of the District (the terms “individual” and “resident” to be understood for the purposes of this paragraph as they are defined in § 47-1801.04);

(6) Enact any act, resolution, or rule which permits the building of any structure within the District of Columbia in excess of the height limitations contained in § 6-601.05, and in effect on December 24, 1973;

(7) Enact any act, resolution, or regulation with respect to the Commission on Mental Health;

(8) Enact any act or regulation relating to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or any other court of the United States in the District other than the District courts, or relating to the duties or powers of the United States Attorney or the United States Marshal for the District of Columbia;

(9) Enact any act, resolution, or rule with respect to any provision of Title 23 (relating to criminal procedure), or with respect to any provision of any law codified in Title 22 or 24 (relating to crimes and treatment of prisoners), or with respect to any criminal offense pertaining to articles subject to regulation under Chapter 45 of Title 22 during the 48 full calendar months immediately following the day on which the members of the Council first elected pursuant to this chapter take office; or

(10) Enact any act, resolution, or rule with respect to the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority established under § 47-391.01(a).

(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as vesting in the District government any greater authority over the National Zoological Park, the National Guard of the District of Columbia, the Washington Aqueduct, the National Capital Planning Commission, or, except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, over any federal agency, than was vested in the Commissioner prior to January 2, 1975.

(c)(1) Except acts of the Council which are submitted to the President in accordance with Chapter 11 of Title 31, United States Code, any act which the Council determines, according to § 1-204.12(a), should take effect immediately because of emergency circumstances, and acts proposing amendments to subchapter IV of this chapter and except as provided in § 1-204.62(c) and § 1-204.72(d)(1) the Chairman of the Council shall transmit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President of the Senate, a copy of each act passed by the Council and signed by the Mayor, or vetoed by the Mayor and repassed by two-thirds of the Council present and voting, each act passed by the Council and allowed to become effective by the Mayor without his signature, and each initiated act and act subject to referendum which has been ratified by a majority of the registered qualified electors voting on the initiative or referendum. Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, such act shall take effect upon the expiration of the 30-calendar-day period (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, and any day on which neither House is in session because of an adjournment sine die, a recess of more than 3 days, or an adjournment of more than 3 days) beginning on the day such act is transmitted by the Chairman to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate, or upon the date prescribed by such act, whichever is later, unless during such 30-day period, there has been enacted into law a joint resolution disapproving such act. In any case in which any such joint resolution disapproving such an act has, within such 30-day period, passed both Houses of Congress and has been transmitted to the President, such resolution, upon becoming law, subsequent to the expiration of such 30-day period, shall be deemed to have repealed such act, as of the date such resolution becomes law. The provisions of § 1-206.04, except subsections (d), (e), and (f) of such section, shall apply with respect to any joint resolution disapproving any act pursuant to this paragraph.

(2) In the case of any such act transmitted by the Chairman with respect to any act codified in Title 22, 23, or 24 of the District of Columbia Code, such act shall take effect at the end of the 60-day period beginning on the day such act is transmitted by the Chairman to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate unless, during such 60-day period, there has been enacted into law a joint resolution disapproving such act. In any case in which any such joint resolution disapproving such an act has, within such 60-day period, passed both Houses of Congress and has been transmitted to the President, such resolution, upon becoming law subsequent to the expiration of such 60-day period shall be deemed to have repealed such act, as of the date such resolution becomes law. The provisions of § 1-206.04, relating to an expedited procedure for consideration of joint resolutions, shall apply to a joint resolution disapproving such act as specified in this paragraph.

(3) The Council shall submit with each Act transmitted under this subsection an estimate of the costs which will be incurred by the District of Columbia as a result of the enactment of the act in each of the first 4 fiscal years for which the act is in effect, together with a statement of the basis for such estimate.


(Dec. 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 813, Pub. L. 93-198, title VI, § 602; Sept. 7, 1976, 90 Stat. 1220, Pub. L. 94-402; Oct. 27, 1978, 92 Stat. 2023, Pub. L. 95-526; Dec. 23, 1981, 95 Stat. 1493, Pub. L. 97-105, § 17; Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 1974, Pub. L. 98-473, § 131(d)-(g); Apr. 17, 1995, 109 Stat. 107, 142, Pub. L. 104-8, §§ 108(b)(2), 301(d)(1).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-233.

1973 Ed., § 1-147.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-204.04, § 1-204.46, § 1-204.62, § 1-204.72, § 1-204.75, § 1-204.90, § 1-204.105, § 1-207.18, § 1-308.06, § 1-1001.16, § 1-1021.04, § 2-1217.33f, § 2-1217.33i, § 2-1217.34e, § 2-1217.34i, § 2-1217.78, § 2-1217.104, § 2-1217.112, § 2-1217.137, § 2-1217.140, § 6-1115, § 7-228, § 7-840, § 7-1208.07, § 7-1306.05, § 8-1778.24, § 8-1778.27, § 9-107.55, § 9-107.58, § 10-1221.06, § 10-1221.10, § 10-1601.03, § 10-1602.03, § 32-1545, § 34-1312.04, § 34-1312.07, § 34-2202.10, § 42-2812.04, § 42-2812.09, § 44-951.16, § 45-305, § 47-340.04, § 47-340.09, § 47-340.31, § 47-392.02, § 47-392.03, § 47-398.01, § 47-1401, and § 47-1806.04.

Cross References

Budget and financial management, issuance of general obligation bonds, see § 1-204.62.

Budget and financial management, permitting designated authority to borrow funds for preconstruction activities, convention center and sports arena authorization, see § 47-398.01.

Budget and financial management, review of Council acts, see § 47-392.03.

Budget and financial management, revisions to financial plan or budget not affecting appropriations, see § 47-392.02.

Council authority, limitations on power to repeal or alter any provision of subchapter III of chapter 73 of title 5, United States Code, restrictions on political activity, see § 1-207.61.

Elections, general provisions, effective date, see § 1-1021.04.

Elections, initiatives and referenda, see § 1-1001.16.

Law revision commission, chapter effective date, see § 45-305.

Mental health information, chapter effective date, see § 7-1208.07.

Prevention of blindness in infants, newborn screening, effective date, see § 7-840.

Qualified high technology companies, allocation of assistance funds, see § 2-1221.03.

Revenue anticipation notes, issuance, effective date, see § 1-204.72.

Revenue bonds and other obligations, authority of Council, see § 1-204.90.

Rhodes tavern, historic landmark and historic district protection, effective date, see § 6-1115.

Rights of mentally retarded citizens, chapter effective date, see § 7-1306.05.

Tax, residents and nonresidents, credits, effective date, see § 47-1806.04.

Vital records system, effective date, see § 7-228.

Workers’ compensation, chapter effective date, see § 32-1545.

References in Text

“Chapter 11 of Title 31, United States Code”, referred to in the first sentence in paragraph (1) of subsection (c) of this section, was substituted for “the Budget and Accounting Act, 1921 ( 31 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.)” on authority of § 4(b) of the Act of September 13, 1982, Pub. L. 97-258.

Editor's Notes

Waiver of Congressional review for certain revenue bond acts: Section 1 of Pub. L. 99-242 amended § 2 of Pub. L. 99-216 to include also D.C. Laws 6-78 and 6-79. Section 2 provided that they should take effect as if included in Pub. L. 99-216, with certain restrictions.

Section 2 of Pub. L. 99-216 also waived Congressional review for D.C. Laws 6-75 and 6-70, providing that they take effect on the date of enactment of the public law, which was approved Dec. 26, 1985.

Waiver of Congressional review for certain revenue bond acts: Section 136(a) of H.R. 3067, amended by H.R. 99-419, incorporated in Pub. L. 99-190 by § 101(c), the D.C. Appropriation Act, 1986, provided that § 602(c) of the Self-Government Act (Pub. L. 93-198) shall not apply to certain acts authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds. Section 136(b) of H.R. 3067 provided that the subject revenue bond acts shall take effect on the date of enactment of the act. Pub. L. 99-190 was approved Dec. 19, 1985. The revenue bond acts subject to waiver of review, set forth in § 136(c) of H.R. 3067, are The Georgetown University Higher Education Facilities Revenue Bond Act of 1985 (D.C. Law 6-75), The Sibley Memorial Hospital Revenue Bond Act of 1985 (D.C. Law 6-70), The Forrest Marbury House Project Revenue Bond Act of 1985 (D.C. Law 6-86), The American University Revenue Bond Act of 1985 (D.C. Law 6-78), and The George Washington University Revenue Bond Act of 1985 (D.C. Law 6-79). D.C. Schedule of Heights Amendment disapproved by Congress: Pursuant to Pub. L. 102-11, 105 Stat. 33, effective March 12, 1991, it was resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the Congress hereby disapproves of the action of the District of Columbia Council described as follows: The Schedule of Heights Amendment Act of 1990 (D.C. Act 8-329), signed by the Mayor of the District of Columbia on December 27, 1990, and transmitted to Congress pursuant to section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act on January 15, 1991.

Borrowing of funds for arena preconstruction activities: For provisions permitting a designated authority to borrow funds for preconstruction activities relating to Gallery Place Sports Arena, see § 47-398.01.

Application of § 301(d)(1) of Pub. L. 104-8: Section 301(d)(2) of Pub. L. 104-8, 109 Stat. 142, provided that the amendment made by paragraph (d)(1) shall apply to Acts of the Council transmitted on or after October 1, 1995.

Fiscal year: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 1-203.03.

Congressional Disapproval of Acts of the Council

Congress has utilized its authority under subsection (c) of this section to nullify the following acts of the Council of the District of Columbia:

(1) The Location of Chanceries Act of 1979, D.C. Act 3-120, adopted on final reading by the Council October 9, 1979, signed by the Mayor November 9, 1979 ( 26 DCR 2188). Disapproval was effective December 20, 1979.

(2) The District of Columbia Sexual Assault Reform Act of 1981, D.C. Act 4-69, adopted on final reading by the Council July 14, 1981, signed by the Mayor July 2, 1981 ( 28 DCR 3409). Disapproval was effective October 1, 1981.

(3) The Schedule of Heights Amendment Act of 1990, Act 8-329, adopted on final reading by the Council December 18, 1990, signed by the Mayor December 27, 1990 ( 38 DCR 369). The disapproval was effective on March 21, 1991.

At the time of the disapproval of the first act, section 602(c)(1) of the Home Rule Act required both Houses of Congress to adopt a concurrent resolution disapproving the act. Act 3-120 was disapproved by both Houses of Congress in S.Con.Res.63 (in Lieu of H.Con.Res.228).

Act 4-69 would have amended titles 22 and 23 of the District of Columbia Code. At the time of the disapproval, section 602(c)(2) provided that either House of Congress could adopt a resolution disapproving an act of the Council that amended or would be codified in titles 22, 23, or 24. Act 4-69 was disapproved by one House of Congress, the House of Representatives, in H.Res.208.

By the time the Council transmitted Act 8-329 to Congress, the Supreme Court had decided, in Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chada, 462 U.S. 919, 103 S. Ct. 2764 (1983), that a provision of the Immigration and Naturalization Act that allowed one House of Congress to invalidate a decision of the Executive Branch violated the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. Congress amended the Home Rule Act to conform with the Chada decision. Section 602 was amended to require that in order to disapprove an act of the Council, both Houses of Congress must pass a joint resolution that would then require the signature of the President. Act 8-329 was disapproved by joint resolution of Congress and signature of the President and became Public Law 102-11.


§ 1–206.03. Budget process; limitations on borrowing and spending.

(a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as making any change in existing law, regulation, or basic procedure and practice relating to the respective roles of the Congress, the President, the federal Office of Management and Budget, and the Comptroller General of the United States in the preparation, review, submission, examination, authorization, and appropriation of the total budget of the District of Columbia government.

(b)(1) No general obligation bonds (other than bonds to refund outstanding indebtedness) or Treasury capital project loans shall be issued during any fiscal year in an amount which would cause the amount of principal and interest required to be paid both serially and into a sinking fund in any fiscal year on the aggregate amounts of all outstanding general obligation bonds and such Treasury loans, to exceed 17% of the District revenues (less any fees or revenues directed to servicing revenue bonds, any revenues, charges, or fees dedicated for the purposes of water and sewer facilities described in § 1-204.90(a) (including fees or revenues directed to servicing or securing revenue bonds issued for such purposes), retirement contributions, revenues from retirement systems, and revenues derived from such Treasury loans and the sale of general obligation or revenue bonds) which the Mayor estimates, and the District of Columbia Auditor certifies, will be credited to the District during the fiscal year in which the bonds will be issued. Treasury capital project loans include all borrowings from the United States Treasury, except those funds advanced to the District by the Secretary of the Treasury under the provisions of §§ 47-3401 through 47-3401.05.

(2) Obligations incurred pursuant to the authority contained in subchapter II of Chapter 3 of Title 3, obligations incurred by the agencies transferred or established by §§ 1-202.01 and 1-202.02, whether incurred before or after such transfer or establishment, and obligations incurred pursuant to general obligation bonds of the District of Columbia issued prior to October 1, 1996, for the financing of Department of Public Works, Water and Sewer Utility Administration capital projects, shall not be included in determining the aggregate amount of all outstanding obligations subject to the limitation specified in the preceding paragraph.

(3) The 17% limitation specified in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be calculated in the following manner:

(A) Determine the dollar amount equivalent to 17% of the District revenues (less any fees or revenues directed to servicing revenue bonds, any revenues, charges, or fees dedicated for the purposes of water and sewer facilities described in § 1-204.90(a) (including fees or revenues directed to servicing or securing revenue bonds issued for such purposes, retirement contributions, revenues from retirement systems, and revenues derived from such Treasury loans and the sale of general obligation or revenue bonds) which the Mayor estimates, and the District of Columbia Auditor certifies, will be credited to the District during the fiscal year for which the bonds will be issued;

(B) Determine the actual total amount of principal and interest to be paid in each fiscal year for all outstanding general obligation bonds (less the allocable portion of principal and interest to be paid during the year on general obligation bonds of the District of Columbia issued prior to October 1, 1996, for the financing of Department of Public Works, Water and Sewer Utility Administration capital projects) and such Treasury loans;

(C) Determine the amount of principal and interest to be paid during each fiscal year over the term of the proposed general obligation bond or such Treasury loan to be issued; and

(D) If in any 1 fiscal year the sum arrived at by adding subparagraphs (B) and (C) of this paragraph exceeds the amount determined under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph then the proposed general obligation bond or such Treasury loan in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph cannot be issued.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, the Council shall not approve any budget which would result in expenditures being made by the District government, during any fiscal year, in excess of all resources which the Mayor estimates will be available from all funds available to the District for such fiscal year. The budget shall identify any tax increases which shall be required in order to balance the budget as submitted. The Council shall be required to adopt such tax increases to the extent its budget is approved. For the purposes of this section, the Council shall use a federal payment amount not to exceed the amount authorized by Congress.

(d) Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, the Mayor shall not forward to the President for submission to Congress a budget which is not balanced according to the provision of subsection (c) of this section.

(e) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as affecting the applicability to the District government of the provisions of §§ 1341, 1342, and 1349 to 1351 and subchapter II of Chapter 15 of Title 31, United States Code.

(f) In the case of a fiscal year which is a control year (as defined in § 47-393(4)), the Council may not approve, and the Mayor may not forward to the President, any budget which is not consistent with the financial plan and budget established for the fiscal year under part B of subchapter VII of Chapter 3 of Title 47.


(Dec. 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 814, Pub. L. 93-198, title VI, § 603; Apr. 17, 1995, 109 Stat. 115, Pub. L. 104-8, § 202(f)(1); Aug. 6, 1996, 110 Stat. 1697, Pub. L. 104-184, § 3; enacted, Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-254, § 2, 44 DCR 1575; Aug. 5, 1997, 111 Stat. 754, Pub. L. 105-33, §§ 11243(e), 11601(b)(1)(C), 11601(b)(1)(D), 11602(b), 11604.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-313.

1973 Ed., § 47-228.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-204.24e, § 1-204.43, § 1-204.45a, § 1-204.48, § 1-204.61, § 1-204.75, § 1-204.87, § 1-204.90, § 1-207.23, § 1-301.86, § 1-301.115a, § 1-1162.07, § 34-2202.10, § 38-2652, § 42-2802, § 44-951.16, § 47-306, § 47-317.03a, § 47-318, § 47-340.30, § 47-392.14, § 47-398.01, § 47-398.02, and § 47-1806.03.

Cross References

Council, powers and duties, see § 1-204.04.

Procurement organization, office of the inspector general, powers and duties, reports, see § 1-301.115a.

Sanitary sewage works, rates and charges agreements with Maryland and Virginia, see § 1-204.87.

Self-government, district charter amendments, see § 1-203.03.

Self-government, legislative power of District, see § 1-203.02.

Water and sewer authority, budget, see § 1-204.45a.

References in Text

“§§ 1341, 1342, and 1349 to 1351 and subchapter II of Chapter 15 of Title 31, United States Code,” referred to in subsection (e) of this section, was substituted for “§ 3679 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (s 665 of Title 31, United States Code), the so-called Anti-Deficiency Act” on authority of § 4(b) of Pub. L. 97-258, approved September 13, 1982.

Editor's Notes

Borrowing of funds for arena preconstruction activities: For provisions permitting a designated authority to borrow funds for preconstruction activities relating to Gallery Place Sports Arena, see § 47-398.01.

Revenues as security for arena construction borrowing: For provisions permitting certain District revenues to be pledged as security for borrowing for preconstruction activities relating to Gallery Place Sports Arena, see § 47-398.02.


§ 1–206.04. Congressional action on certain District matters.

(a) This section is enacted by Congress:

(1) As an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, and as such these provisions are deemed a part of the rule of each House, respectively, but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be followed in that House in the case of resolutions described by this section; and they supersede other rules only to the extent that they are inconsistent therewith; and

(2) With full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change the rule (so far as relating to the procedure of that House) at any time, in the same manner and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of that House.

(b) For the purpose of this section, “resolution” means only a joint resolution, the matter after the resolving clause of which is as follows: “That the . . . . . . . . . . approves/disapproves of the action of the District of Columbia Council described as follows: . . . . . . . . . .”, the blank spaces therein being appropriately filled, and either approval or disapproval being appropriately indicated; but does not include a resolution which specifies more than 1 action.

(c) A resolution with respect to Council action shall be referred to the Committee on the District of Columbia of the House of Representatives, or the Committee on the District of Columbia of the Senate, by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may be.

(d) If the Committee to which a resolution has been referred has not reported it at the end of 20 calendar days after its introduction, it is in order to move to discharge the Committee from further consideration of any other resolution with respect to the same Council action which has been referred to the Committee.

(e) A motion to discharge may be made only by an individual favoring the resolution, is highly privileged (except that it may not be made after the Committee has reported a resolution with respect to the same action), and debate thereon shall be limited to not more than 1 hour, to be divided equally between those favoring and those opposing the resolution. An amendment to the motion is not in order, and it is not in order to move to reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to.

(f) If the motion to discharge is agreed to or disagreed to, the motion may not be renewed, nor may another motion to discharge the Committee be made with respect to any other resolution with respect to the same action.

(g) When the Committee has reported, or has been discharged from further consideration of, a resolution, it is at any time thereafter in order (even though a previous motion to the same effect has been disagreed to) to move to proceed to the consideration of the resolution. The motion is highly privileged and is not debatable. An amendment to the motion is not in order, and it is not in order to move to reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to.

(h) Debate on the resolution shall be limited to not more than 10 hours, which shall be divided equally between those favoring and those opposing the resolution. A motion further to limit debate is not debatable. An amendment to, or motion to recommit, the resolution is not in order, and it is not in order to move to reconsider the vote by which the resolution is agreed to or disagreed to.

(i) Motions to postpone made with respect to the discharge from Committee or the consideration of a resolution, and motions to proceed to the consideration of other business, shall be decided without debate.

(j) Appeals from the decisions of the chair relating to the application of the rules of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, to the procedure relating to a resolution shall be decided without debate.


(Dec. 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 816, Pub. L. 93-198, title VI, § 604; Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 1975, Pub. L. 98-473, § 131(h).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-207.

1973 Ed., § 1-127.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-203.03 and § 1-206.02.

Editor's Notes

Fiscal year: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 1-203.03.