Eleanor Holmes Norton

A clash over wet wipes is the latest front in D.C.'s battle for self-rule

A clash over wet wipes is the latest front in D.C.'s battle for self-rule

When local officials in Washington declared war on “fatbergs” — floating white clumps of flushed wet wipes that were clogging the district’s sewage system — they ran into a familiar obstacle: Congress.

A Maryland congressman, exercising a right enshrined in the Constitution, moved to prevent local officials from enforcing the new law by trying to insert an amendment into an unrelated federal appropriations bill.

“Now,” said Paul Strauss, one of the district’s two nonvoting “shadow” senators, “they’re literally in our toilets.”

The battle over D.C.’s wet wipes would be laughable, local officials say, if the district didn’t have to overcome similar federal roadblocks every...

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