Two independent candidates vying to become the next D.C. mayor presented two different views on achieving voting rights for D.C. and how best to work with — and without — Congress to do so.
David Catania, a member of the D.C. council, told the several dozen voters gathered at the DC Vote forum that District residents cannot count on Congress to help them achieve full voting rights.
“No taxation without representation” has been a cliché of American politics almost since the nation’s founding, but for citizens of Washington, D.C., those words have been anything but a guarantee.
After the U.S. House of Representatives debated a D.C. statehood bill in 1992, the measure made it out of committee before being killed during a vote on the House floor. But a statehood bill debated yesterday in the U.S. Senate may not even make it out of committee — despite Democrats controlling the chamber.
The last time Congress considered legislation to change the District of Columbia’s status as a non-voting federal jurisdiction, it was only a partial measure and Democrats controlled both chambers as well as the White House. But in an environment where even 2009’s halfway measure looks highly unlikely -- if not impossible -- supporters are pushing for full statehood.
President Barack Obama is for D.C. Statehood, as are quite a few of his neighbors in the District of Columbia. On Monday, those boosters will make the first concrete progress toward that goal in 20 years. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the New Columbia Admission Act of 2013. The hearing will be the first about D.C. statehood since 1993, when a similar House measure went up for a vote.
Along the walk underground from the Capitol to the Dirksen Senate Building, you traverse a long, soulless hallway with a mini train track. As the path curves around, a flag of each state hangs with a corresponding circular crest. Each state’s flag hangs in the order of its admission to the United States.
A Senate committee held a hearing Monday on a bill that would grant statehood to the District of Columbia. Or perhaps it's better to say a single Senator held a hearing on the bill, since only Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.), who chairs the committee and introduced the legislation, stayed for the entire duration.
The U.S. Congress has taken up the issue of D.C. statehood this week — the first time in years the issue has gotten even this far. These reasons may help — or hurt — the cause of U.S. capital residents.