Chairwoman Maloney Announces First Markup of D.C. Statehood Bill in Congress Since 1993
Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, announced that the Committee will markup H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, on February 11, 2020.
The bill, introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton in January 2019, would admit the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth into the Union as a State consisting of most of the territory of the present-day District of Columbia.
H.R. 51 has 224 cosponsors, and both Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have strongly endorsed the bill.
Below are Chairwoman Maloney’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney
H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act
January 30, 2020
Thank you very much. I would like to thank Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton for her tireless advocacy on behalf of the District of Columbia. She has been a true heroine for the people she represents. I also want to thank Mayor Bowser and Council Chairman Mendelson for their leadership and support.
Today, we are announcing a markup of the D.C. statehood bill in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform—which I chair—on February 11. This will be the first markup of the D.C. statehood bill in Congress since 1993.
The United States is a democracy, but its capital is not. More than 700,000 D.C. residents are taxed without voting representation in Congress. They cannot consent to federal laws that govern them, and they pay more in federal taxes than 22 states.
D.C. residents have been petitioning for congressional voting rights and local self-government for more than 200 years. In 2016, 86 percent of D.C. residents voted for statehood.
Yet, neither chamber of Congress has ever passed the D.C. statehood bill on the floor. I hope this year will be different. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of H.R. 51 because this legislation now has a record number of cosponsors—224.
I truly believe that a commitment to democracy should transcend party affiliation. Let me give you just one example. In 2007, when Vice President Mike Pence was a Member of Congress, he made this eloquent statement, and I quote:
“The fact that more than half a million Americans living in the District of Columbia are denied a single voting representative in Congress is clearly a historic wrong. The single overarching principle of the American founding was that laws should be based upon the consent of the governed. Given their commitment to representative democracy, it is inconceivable to me that our Founders would have been willing to accept the denial of representation to so great a throng of Americans in perpetuity.”
I could not agree more. I want to close by again commending Congresswoman Norton for her tireless work. Her leadership has brought us to this historic moment and will continue to carry us forward.