The U.S. Constitution says that Congress shall "exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever" with respect to the seat of the federal government, the District of Columbia. Part of this congressional oversight is a requirement that all public funds expended by local District officials (the mayor, etc.) must be appropriated by Congress, including funds raised by local taxes. For many years, Congress has placed limits on how such funds may be spent, including a prohibition on funding elective abortions. However, District officials have enacted a local "budget autonomy" law that they insist gives them the right to spend these "local" funds without congressional approval (about $8 billion annually). H.R. 5233, sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), would reaffirm that Congress retains complete authority over these funds. In a letter to members of the House of Representatives in support of the bill
, dated May 24, 2016, National Right to Life said, "If the local authorities are permitted to illegal seize control of the $8 billion, it is predictable that they will soon pay for abortion on demand . . . [and] we can expect more assaults by District officials against pro-life and other conservative groups that are based in the District." The House passed H.R. 5233 by a vote of 240 to 179, and sent it to the U.S. Senate. The bill was supported by 238 Republicans and two Democrats. It was opposed by 179 Democrats. House roll call no. 248, May 25, 2016.