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Silverman Accuses Mendelson of Trying to Delay Three of Her Bills to Death


The pocket veto is a tool of a bygone era in official Washington, allowing a president to delay a bill to death if they time things right. Gridlock has lessened the need for that kind of maneuvering in Congress, but the principle appears alive and well at the D.C. Council.

At least, that’s the contention from At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman, who is launching broadsides at Council Chairman Phil Mendelson over his recent decision to send three bills from her labor and workforce committee to various other committees. It might sound like just a technical bit of legislative business, but Silverman sees it as a stall tactic aimed specifically at punishing her.

That’s because the Council is on the cusp of its summer recess that runs from July 15 through Sept. 15, and then there are only a precious few months left for lawmakers to get legislation passed before the year ends. The arrival of 2023 marks the expiration of the two-year Council period, and any legislation still in limbo by then gets scrapped and would need to restart the Council’s vetting process all over again. If the other committee chairs now tasked with scrutinizing Silverman’s bills drag their feet, she could suffer major setbacks.

So Silverman took the unusual step of sending a memo to Mendelson and the rest of the Council Thursday, expressing her surprise at his “late-breaking decision to change course” and demanding explanations about these changes by Tuesday.

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