On Thursday, September 19th, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform will hold a hearing on the Washington, DC Admission Act (H.R. 51). This will be the first hearing on DC statehood in more than a quarter-century.
More than 700,000 residents live in DC, which is more than that of Wyoming and Vermont, yet its residents still lack voting members in the U.S. House and Senate. Without these voting members, residents of DC are denied a voice in Congress to defend them from attacks on their own locally passed laws and citizen backed initiatives.
Since the 1980s Congress has continuously used DC as a pawn in their political games. From banning use of District funds to promote clean needle exchange, to blocking the reproductive health choices of women, or weakening DC’s gun violence prevention laws, Congress has used the decisions of DC’s residents to deny them their full democratic principles.
The introduction of H.R. 51 is a historic opportunity to ensure that DC residents are no longer disenfranchised. The legislation would preserve the “federal district” of DC--with its monuments, Capitol building, White House and the National Mall--while ensuring that the residents and businesses outside of those areas are able to thrive in their communities under home rule.
The continued structure of taxation without representation that the District of Columbia faces is not part of the American principle of one person, one vote.
A vote for DC statehood will ensure that the power and principles of our democracy truly represent our Democracy.
The League will be attending this week’s hearing in support of DC statehood. We look forward to continuing to engage with the Oversight and Reform Committee’s debate on this legislation and work with community partners to lift-up the voices of the residents of the District of Columbia in favor of full representation and voting rights for the District of Columbia.
For those unable to attend the hearing in Washington, DC, you can view it online here. And LWVUS and LWVDC have created a guide to host a house party. We have also put together a draft letter to the editor for participants to use to spread awareness about this issue in their communities.