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Check out the latest news and updates from Councilmember Silverman.

Witness testimony at July 14 Labor Committee Hearing on the Non-Compete Conflict of Interest Clarification Amendment Act of 2021

Nearly 20 witnesses testified at the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development July 14 hearing on B24-256, the Non-Compete Conflict of Interest Clarification Amendment Act of 2021. Click here to read the written testimony of those who participated. We greatly appreciate all the input provided by the witnesses.

July 8 Newsletter - How to Spend $17 Billion

All day today, my colleagues on the D.C. Council and I will be discussing the budget for the next fiscal year. This is certainly the most consequential budget in my seven years on the Council, and might possibly be the most momentous for years to come. Mayor Muriel Bowser presented us with a $17 billion proposal, which includes not only money from your income and property taxes but also more than 2 billion federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan that can be spent over the next three years.

The investments we make with these dollars will determine whether we truly help those residents and businesses who were most hurt by the pandemic; if we substantively address the structural racism and inequality in our city; and if we take a new direction toward being a more just and egalitarian city. Or we can just keep doing largely what we have been doing, in which some residents and businesses have been buoyed by a rising economic tide, and others, particularly longtime Black residents, feel like they’ve been wiped out.


FY 2022 Labor and Workforce Development Budget Report

As part of the FY 2022 budget process, the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development has released its budget recommendations. The report and accompanying documents are linked below.  The Committee marked up and voted on the recommendations on Wednesday, June 30, at 4pm.  

Budget documents:

More budget information can be found on the Council Budget Office's website.

DOES Director's Testimony for June 11 Budget Oversight Hearing

Councilmember Elissa Silverman, Chairperson of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, received testimony from the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes in advance of the June 11 Oversight Hearing on the DOES Budget for FY 2022. Click here to read the Director's testimony.

The virtual hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 11, 2021. It will be broadcast live on DC Cable Channel 13 and online at

Testimony of Public Witnesses at June 9 Labor Committee DOES Budget Oversight Hearing

Nearly 50 public witnesses testified at the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development June 9 hearing on the FY 2022 budget for the Department of Employment Services (DOES). Click here to read the written testimony of those who participated. We greatly appreciate all the input provided by our public witnesses, as it will inform our consideration of how we can make strategic investments to help those residents and businesses who have been hurt most by the pandemic.

June 8 Newsletter - How to Stay Cool During Budget Season with Answers to Your Questions on Reopening, Redistricting, and the Budget!

Our city has an incredible opportunity to strategically invest in ourselves and make the District of Columbia a more egalitarian, equitable city. What am I talking about? Over the next two months, my D.C. Council colleagues and I will make pivotal decisions on how to spend more than $17 billion for the upcoming fiscal year, as well as a billion more this year as well. 

It is budget season, and this is a budget like none other.

This could be a game-changer, but it is up to us to spend the money in a way that will not just perpetuate the status quo. The infusion of a few billion federal dollars for COVID-19 recovery gives us a unique opportunity to make transformative investments in public education, housing, workforce development and public safety. We have some big choices ahead, and we need your input. More information on how to weigh in on the budget is below. 

We need to spend dollars in the savviest way possible to help those residents and businesses who have been hurt the most by the pandemic to turn their trajectories around, as well as build strong systems to make our city a place of opportunity for generations to come. It’s important to keep in mind this pandemic did not impact all District residents equally. That’s why I am a bit surprised about Mayor Bowser’s approach: I don’t see in her proposal that we are truly targeting dollars to help those who have been most impacted by COVID. Instead, I see a lot of sprinkling of dollars here and there. I think of the graphic below that’s used to demonstrate equity, of the kids trying to look over the fence at the baseball game. 

We need to use these dollars to build a big booster for the smaller kids, not give the same size boost to everyone. Right now, this budget gives the same size boost to everyone.

We also know that direct payments to our unemployed residents and the local businesses who through no fault of their own had to lay off their employees are the best way to help both groups come out of this emergency. But there’s not much in this budget that helps either group. As well, the mayor’s proposal takes $400 million from the Paid Family Leave fund to spend largely on benefits that do not help our residents or workers most impacted. It’s important to keep in mind that many residents lost the ability to use paid family leave because they lost their jobs. And by giving a tax break to all businesses, we’re not targeting those businesses who really need the help, such as our hotels, our restaurants, our locally-owned retail. Again, it is giving the same size boost to everyone, instead of giving a big boost to those who need it the most.

We are beginning to come out of a once-in-a-century public health emergency and economic crisis. We have access to a significant amount of federal funds to help our residents, our businesses, and our District government emerge in a way that gets us to a more equitable place. It’s up to us whether we make it game-changing. I will push for that to happen. I’ll have more specifics in upcoming newsletters.

Take care, and stay cool!



Councilmember Silverman Letter to Mayor on Using Federal American Rescue Plan Funds

May 20, 2021


The Honorable Muriel Bowser

Mayor, District of Columbia

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20004


Dear Mayor Bowser:

Thank you for your leadership during the COVID-19 emergency. We faced interwoven, once-in-a-lifetime public health and economic challenges, and now we face another great challenge of recovering from this incredible crisis. We have an equally remarkable opportunity to make transformational change with the $2.3 billion in federal dollars coming to the District from the American Rescue Plan.

(Click here for a PDF of the letter or continue reading below.)

May 12 Newsletter - D.C. Reopening, Unemployment, the Comprehensive Plan, Vaccines, and Q & A

Only half of District residents have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control. Even if you take out all the kids who have not been eligible for the vaccine (emergency approval of the Pfizer vaccine happened earlier this week for 12 to 15-year-olds), that still leaves nearly 40 percent of District adult residents unvaccinated. 

Does that percentage surprise you? 


May Redistricting Roundtable

Councilmember Elissa Silverman, Chairperson of the Committee of the Whole’s Subcommittee on Redistricting, announces a public roundtable before the Subcommittee on the 2021 redistricting process. The roundtable will be held on Monday, May 24, 2021, at 1:00 p.m.

News Release: Silverman and Robert White Introduce D.C. Driving to Opportunity Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2021 – D.C. Councilmembers Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) and Robert C. White, Jr. (D-At-Large) today introduced legislation that would end the automatic denial of the issuance and renewal of driver’s licenses for D.C. residents who have unpaid debt to the District. Currently, tens of thousands of residents are denied the ability to get or renew a license if they owe D.C. government as little as $100, which can prevent them from continuing to work or caring for their family.