Precisely why the Founders didn’t want the federal government to be at the mercy of a state: the District of Columbia is now threatening to shut off water to the White House.
Because of the federal shutdown, the Treasury Department told DC Water via email that it can only pay $10.5 million of the $16.5 million owed for the second quarter of 2019.
The email was discussed at DC Water’s first board meeting of 2019, first reported by local radio station WAMU.
DC Water board chairman Tommy Wells asked, “That brings up an interesting question. Is there a time from nonpayment when we cut someone’s water off?”
“1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is that what you’re talking about?” another board member asked, as the entire board laughed.
WAMU then followed up with DC Water spokesman Vincent Morris to see whether shutting off the federal government’s water was actually on the table. Morris refused to rule it out.
“Conceivably, DC Water can shut off service for nonpayment to any customer,” he said. “We don’t do it very often, it’s a last resort, we never want to do it.”
But… it’s “an interesting idea,” he said. He added, sinisterly, “Water is leverage, no one wants to go without it.”
Soon after, however, DC Water quickly moved into damage-control, contradicting both their board and their spokesman. They issued a press release saying, “Since the Federal government pays in advance, its account is not past due, and DC Water is not contemplating shutting off water to any Federal properties. We anticipate the outstanding balance for the second quarter will be paid in full once the shutdown ends.”