Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) unleashed on Congress Thursday for veering toward a government shutdown, saying her constituents in Washington, D.C., are "being treated as colonists of the Congress."
Norton appeared visibly angry during an television interview, during which she lobbed attacks at the legislature and Republicans for their behavior in the budget talks.
Norton's rhetoric is some of the toughest yet levied against congressional negotiators, who are still at an impasse over a 2011 budget proposal. If GOP and Democratic leaders cannot pass a spending bill by the end of Friday, the government will shut down.
Norton chastised Republicans for pushing for a policy rider to be included in a proposed stopgap spending measure that would prevent taxpayer funds from paying for abortions in D.C.
"It’s time that the District of Columbia told the Congress to go straight to hell," she said.
“We’re listening to the American people, who want us to keep the government open while cutting spending to help the private-sector create jobs. It’s difficult to see how this rhetoric helps," responded Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Washington, which is partially funded by the federal government, would endure massive cutbacks to city services should a shutdown occur.
The city's many federal workers could be furloughed, and city services like libraries and trash collection would be suspended. Washington's many museums and parks could also close.
"We've sustained attack after attack as the Republicans invade our right to govern ourselves," Norton said, adding she is not confident lawmakers will reach a deal.
"I'm not confident. But if they don't get a deal done, if these Republicans insist that if they don't get the whole pie, they'll take the whole country down with them, then we have got to make them pay the price."