Broad, Overwhelming Support for Landmark D.C. Statehood Bill

Jun 26, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (June 26, 2020)—Today, the House of Representatives will consider H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act.  This landmark legislation, introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, would create a 51st state comprised of most of the territory presently considered the District of Columbia.

 

The District currently pays more in taxes per capita than any state despite having no voting power in Congress.  This bill would finally grant D.C. residents their right to full representation.

 

Ahead of the House’s vote on this legislation, more than 160 groups supporting civil rights, federal workers, education, and the environment have endorsed this bill.

 

The bill also has 227 cosponsors in the House and 40 cosponsors in the Senate.

 

Below are excerpts from letters of endorsements of this historic legislation.

 

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:  “For over 200 years, the residents of Washington, D.C. have been disenfranchised and forced to bear the burdens of democracy without any of the benefits.  Even though they pay federal taxes, fight in wars, and fulfill all of the other obligations of citizenship, they have no voice when Congress makes decisions for the entire nation on matters as important as war and peace, taxes and spending, health care, justice reform, education, immigration policy, or the environment. … Until D.C. residents have a vote in Congress and an independent say in their own affairs, they will not be much better off than African Americans in the South were prior to August 6, 1965, when President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law—and until then, the efforts of the civil rights movement will remain incomplete.”

 

NAACP:  “Due to the undemocratic nature of the current situation for the residents of D.C, as well as the fact that it disproportionately impacts Americans of color as well as everyone else living in our nation’s capital, the NAACP strongly supports full representation for all the residents of the District of Columbia.”

 

ACLU:  “The ACLU strongly believes D.C. residents deserve full representation in our national government.  Decisions on policies that impact D.C. residents’ rights, liberties, health, and welfare are routinely made by Congress—a body that neither represents their interests nor is politically accountable for its decisions regarding the District. D.C. residents pay taxes, serve on juries, fight in wars, and contribute to our country’s prosperity, and are deserving of equal representation in the federal government.”

 

SPLC:  “The District of Columbia is the only capital of a democratic nation that denies its residents full representation.  In recent weeks, D.C. residents’ relative powerlessness was, again, dramatically demonstrated when the District received less COVID-19 stimulus funding than any other state—at a time when coronavirus cases in the city were climbing—and when federal law enforcement officials, some without name badges or any identifying insignia, violently confronted people on D.C. streets protesting police misconduct and systemic racism.”

 

AFGE, AFL-CIO:  “Federal employees who live and work in the District of Columbia, and indeed every resident of Washington, D.C., deserve to have full and equal representation in Congress. States are the fundamental basis for our system of government and to deny a population the ability to form a state denies them the ability to fully participate in self-governance.  Any solution short of statehood would simply continue the two-tiered system of citizenship the residents of the District of Columbia have endured for 200 years.”

 

Campaign Legal Center:  “It is time to provide the District with a meaningful say in government and public policy based on the race, political affiliation and, socioeconomic status of its citizens.  It is time for Congress to act and give the residents of the District the same rights and essential voice in government as the rest of America.  It is time to allow the residents of the District to make their own governing decisions.  It is time to reverse hundreds of years of disenfranchisement and give the hundreds of thousands of residents the right to vote and speak their minds, and full representation.”

 

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice:  “With a majority Black and brown population, the fight for D.C. Statehood cannot be separated from the struggle for racial justice in our nation.  The lack of voting representation for D.C. residents is part of the harmful heritage of racial injustice in our nation.  Our government cannot continue to arbitrarily revoke the fundamental, constitutional rights of our fellow citizens living in the District.  It is wrong to justify the status quo based on party politics or the historical precedent of preventing Black and brown people from voting.”

 

AFSCME:  “This important legislation means finally that the commonwealth shall be

admitted to the Union on an equal footing with the other states.  It also goes to the heart

of the timely question of whether we as a nation are a true democratic republic that

affords all of its citizens the full voting rights of the U.S. Constitution and whether the

more than 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia, which is more populous than

several states, should have the same rights and privileges of all other Americans living

in the 50 states.  In granting this right it reverses the injustice that has plagued

Washington, D.C. since its inception, including putting an end to harmful federal

interference.”

 

NTEU:  “This bill, introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), would correct a grave injustice, namely the disenfranchisement of American citizens who live in the District of Columbia.  These 700,000 Americans, some of whom are members of our union, bear all of the responsibilities of other American citizens—they pay taxes, serve on juries, are subject to federal laws and, as I write this letter, many are bravely serving their country on overseas military assignments or in other ways.  They also should have voting representation in the legislative chambers that make these laws and set these taxes which they are obligated to follow. No American citizen should be a second-class citizen.”

 

Click here to read the bill.

 

Click here for a full listing of endorsements.

Issues: 
116th Congress