We created this simple graphic to illustrate the disparity and unfairness we DC residents face. We are required to pay Federal taxes but are prohibited from electing anyone to the Senate or House of Representatives. Furthermore, our unique status gives a Congress we cannot elect the legal right to meddle in our local affairs to score points with various lobbying groups.
The American federal system separates the scope of local affairs from nation affairs. Americans duly elect one government for local affairs (the city, county, and state) and another government for national affairs (the House, Senate, and president). The 50 states collect taxes, pass budgets, collect garbage, pave roads, provide health services, and educate children without needing Congressional approval for every action.
DC residents elect a council and mayor, but Congress and the president may overturn any act of the elected DC government in a way they cannot for any state. Furthermore, DC residents have been able to vote in presidential elections since the 1964 election, but are denied the right to vote for any Senators, and are granted one non-voting (i.e. politically impotent) delegate to the House of Representatives.
On Christmas Eve in 1973, Congress passed a statute granting DC residents the “privilege” of a limited form of self-government. The problem with this situation is that Congress can redefine or repeal this statute on a whim without any consent from the 601,723 people it actually governs.
Congress, however, cannot redefine or repeal statehood.
Statehood is the only way to guarantee DC residents our irrevocable and inalienable right to self-determination. The time has come to admit the District of Columbia and its 600,000 residents as the 51st state.
“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” —Declaration of Independence
The Post is reporting that the latest attempt to move voting rights forward will probably fail.
As you may recall, in early January Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D – DC) introduced a bill to give the District a voting member of the House. Progress on the bill stalled when the Senate added an amendment essentially repealing much of the city’s gun laws and restricting the Council from regulating firearms in the future.
Since a repeal of gun laws is politically unpopular in the city, Congressional backers gave up on the bill, opting to find another way to give the District representation.
The latest plan, now in peril, involved attaching the voting rights language as a rider in the conference report for the defense appropriation bill.
But now it looks as though that will fail, too, despite the Democratic majority, as the Post writes:
Democrats fear that if they did use the defense measure, the National Rifle Association would “score” the vote as though it were directly related to the gun issue. Interest groups across the ideological spectrum rate the voting records of members of Congress, but few have as much clout as the NRA. If the group announced that it was scoring a vote for the defense bill (and the D.C. Voting Rights measure) as a vote against gun rights, it would put Democrats — particularly those from conservative and rural districts — in a very tough spot.
Yet again, we must suffer the abridgment of our moral right to elect the people who pass laws we must obey.